At the beginning of the year PAF, an operator based in Finland closed down its online poker room aimed at Spanish players. However, on a more optimistic note it is believed by some analysts that the Spanish online gambling market could rise to about 250 million euros when slot machines and exchange betting are introduced.
The Direccion General de Ordenacion del Juego, the Spanish gambling regulator recently made the announcement that online operators may offer slot machines and that exchange betting may be introduced in Spain. However only those operators who hold a Spanish gaming licence will be able to offer these. The process will take a certain amount of time especially for the legislation governing online slot machines to be put in place.
There will be draft regulations and then time for the public to give its opinion before the regulations are checked and sent to the different government agencies to be approved before finally a ministerial order will be issued. This process may not be completed before the end of 2013 when it is hoped the first online slots will be available to Spanish online players. It should take a shorter time to finalise the process and produce regulations governing the introduction of exchange betting.The Direccion General de Ordenacion del Juego came to its decision to allow online slots after major negotiations with those involved in both sides of the debate.
The licensed online gambling operators put forward their case to offer slot machines to Spanish players while land based casinos continued to oppose the introduction of online slot machines. There were several reasons for the decision to permit online slot machines, among these was the fact that if Spanish players wished to play slot machines they tended to use off shore internet gambling sites and there was also the consideration of the benefit of tax income from online slot machines to the Spanish authorities.It is claimed that in 2012 the licensed online gambling market in Spain brought in just under 90 million euros and these figures from the first year of regulated online gambling in Spain are expected to rise even though there are some problems within the Spanish internet gambling industry. One of these problems is the high 25 per cent tax on profits. Some operators such as the Spanish online casino operator Formulas y Soluciones have cancelled their Spanish online gambling licence.