When the Spanish gaming market was liberalised strict regulations governing any illegal online gambling were put in place. In June 2012 the Spanish Gaming Regulator granted the first gaming licences. Since then no company may legally offer online gambling to Spanish citizens without a Spanish licence.
Licences from other jurisdictions are not recognised. Fifty four operators applied for the first Spanish licences and almost three hundred different types were granted.There are three types of licences involved. Any company that wished to offer online gaming in Spain had to apply for a general licence before mid December 2011. Only operators who hold a general licence can apply for a specific licence which is related to a certain type of game. The 12 specific licences govern the regulations for each game including customer protection, the amounts that can be bet or deposited, how the games are presented and advertising among others. If an operator missed the deadline to apply for a general licence they have no chance of applying for a game specific licence either.
It is not known when the Spanish authorities will open up another round of licence applications. The third type of licence is available to any company that wants to operate a short term gaming activity. These authorisations refer to specific events and none have yet been granted.The new online gaming law in Spain does not give Spanish companies belonging to the state benefits not available to other operators. Several online gaming groups from outside Spain including Ladbrokes Casino, Bwin and Betfair have been granted licences to offer online gaming in Spain. All companies must pay the Spanish authorities a gaming tax which is set at 25 per cent of gross gaming income. Since the online gambling industry in Spain is among the leading markets in Europe, the state is benefiting well from this tax revenue.The Spanish authorities have strict rules in place to regulate the online gaming industry and any infringements incur large fines. These fines go from under 100 000 euros up to a million euros for serious offences and very serious breaches could be subject to fines of up to 50 million euros and the shutting down of the site. Not only are the operators responsible for obeying the regulations in place but any person or company involved with the operator in any capacity is also responsible.