The Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB) has announced that online poker provider PokerStars will not be sponsoring the national team at this summer’s 2010 FIBA World Championship, as the website is not compliant under current Spanish gambling laws.
In announcing the revoking of the sponsorship arrangement made last month, FEB spokesmen said that complaints had come from the Spanish Casino Association (AECJ) plus the CEJ and COFAR, groups representing interests of casino and bingo games in Spain. The FEB explained that such a website could not sponsor the national team, as PokerStars is not subject to tax in Spain.
In a one-year agreement signed in June, PokerStars would have sponsored Spanish men’s basketball at the world championship beginning in Turkey in August. Though online sports bookmaker BWin sponsors the Real Madrid soccer team, the PokerStars deal was rejected because the FIBA team represents a national entity.
The three interest groups have banded together before as regulated online casinos in Spain seem ever closer to fruition. Early this year, AECJ, CEJ and COFAR filed a formal complaint with the government in hopes that the government would go into legal proceedings against certain Internet gambling providers. Land-based casino operators in Spain have long held online gaming to be a threat to their business.
A motion to make Internet casino gaming and online poker sites in Spain regulated was passed in parliament in late 2007, but no further formal moves have been taken to change the extant gambling law in Spain. Experts believe that standards for regulation and taxation will be released and online casinos in Spain open in late 2011.