Gambling in Spain
Gambling is legal in Spain, but for most of the last 150 years, it was limited to basic lotteries, and all legal gambling was strictly controlled by the state. It was not until 1977 that the Spanish government legalized skill-based gambling. Games of chance like slot machines and other similar sorts of gambling were not legalized until 1981. Today, the Spanish gambling industry is booming, and Spain is one of the most gambling nations in the world, spending twice as much on gambling each year as the UK. There are now over 60 casinos and 7 racetracks across Spain, along with more than a quarter of a million gambling machines – only the UK has more.
Big legislative changes came into effect in June 2012, including the regulation of online operators, as well as setting the penalties for organizing or assisting illegal gambling, ranging into the tens of millions of Euros. Even minor fines, reserved for infringements such as inadequate information provided to the public, may run in the tens of thousands of Euros
Online Gambling in Spain
A few years ago, there were no specific laws that regulated online gambling. Beginning in 2002, however, the Spanish government began moving towards the regulation and legalization of internet gambling, culminating in Law 13/2011 on Gambling, which has finally created a framework for licensing operators.
The law came into effect in June 2012 and over 70 gambling operators have been licensed since. The resulting online gambling environment entertained one million players before the year was over. However, the 25% tax rate and rigid regulations left many operators disenchanted, but the market is nevertheless going strong. Over half of online punters engage in sports betting and 4 in 10 play poker.
Until recently, online slots and exchange betting were prohibited in Spain. But lawmakers decided to change these regulations and officially introduced these two options at the end of July 2014. The regulatory body is accepting applications from internet casino operators that want to cater to local slots players, and the process should be completed by the end of 2014, with new websites going live by January 1, 2015.