Hidden in the depths of Málaga, a city on the southern coast of Spain, is a secret underground gambling den called Casino 1. The establishment operates out of an old warehouse. It runs illegally, without a license from the Spanish government. The casino advertises primarily via word-of-mouth, but information about how to find it is also available on various social networking sites on the internet.
As of last week, however, this secret Spanish casino is no more. Málaga National Police raided the covert gambling house, where they found 110 players engaged in illegal gambling activities. Authorities learned about Casino 1 the same way players do: on the internet. It is believed that each player paid €35 to enter the casino, creating a total of almost $4000 in profits just from entrance fees for the night. Many players had traveled far for an evening of gambling.
The raid took place at late at night – it was the culmination of a three-month investigation. Large amounts of cash were seized. Players were questioned, and all face fines of up to €600 each. The two organizers of the casino face stricter charges: under Spanish gambling laws, the men could each be fined between €30,000 and €300,000.
Casino gambling is legal in Spain, but all of the country’s 40+ casinos are controlled by the government. The problem here is that Casino 1 was operating independently, and without a license. The rules are different when it comes to online gambling in Spain. Legislation is currently in the works to legalize internet gambling, and although online casinos will have to be fully licensed, the government intends to open the country’s online gambling industry to foreign gambling operators.