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Online Casinos Spain

spainThe first bricks-and-mortar casinos were legalized in Spain in 1977, and the country has always had a relaxed stance on gambling. However, the path to regulated gaming has been a long and steady one, and it was only in 2012 that the government finally introduced legislation to cover the industry.

Online slots were one notable exception to the law, and they actually remained illegal in Spain until new legislation was passed in 2014 to allow operators to apply for slot licences. That law came into effect on 2nd June 2015, and ten new operators were granted licences, along with 20 existing operators who had applied for the additional right to offer slots, including the likes of William Hill, and software supplier Playtech.

Previously, Spanish players had played slots at foreign-based casinos and the government had done little to try and prevent this. But now the new legislation is in place, slots players must play at licensed Spanish online casinos. This is great news for players, as it means they can now play in a fully legal and fully regulated environment. Some of the best online casinos in Spain are listed below:

Best Spanish Casino Sites in 2018

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Best Spanish Casino Sites in 2018

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50% UP TO €500
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A Steady Path to Liberalisation

Despite a generally liberal attitude to gambling, the online scene has taken a long time to reach this point in Spain, and there are still some restrictions on internet poker.

Although land-based casinos had been legalized since 1977, it wasn’t until much later that the industry really boomed. In 2008 the government split the country into 17 separate regions which were allowed to grant their own gaming licenses as they saw fit. This led to rapid growth and the country now houses over 40 casinos.

Online sports betting had already been made legal by the government in 2006, but it wasn’t until 2010 that the 17 gaming authorities met with the National Gaming Board to begin discussions on the regulation of online gambling. A new law was passed in May 2011, which allowed the development of all online gaming with the exception of games exclusive to the National Lottery and Blind National Lottery, Bingo, and live in-play betting (including slot machines). Individual licences must be obtained for every game type that operators wish to offer, and licences are only granted to companies that house their servers in Spain and operate from .es websites.

The Gambling Act also covered advertising, promotion and sponsorship, making it illegal to advertise, endorse or promote betting activities and websites of operators who do not hold the appropriate licenses. The Act also enables Spanish authorities to impose large fines on operators that try to provide services to Spanish players. Unlike countries such as France and Portugal who tried to pass similar legislation, Spain has been relatively successful with more than 50 sites withdrawing their services voluntarily, and legal proceedings pursued against operators who attempted to continue.

Tough Hand for Poker Players

Poker is one area where legislation is behind the rest of the sector. Poker games are currently ring-fenced in the country in much the same way as France and Italy. Essentially, this means that poker players can only play against other players in Spain, and can’t take part in larger, international tournaments.

This policy has stifled the growth of the poker industry in Spain, and a recent report showed that close to half of all poker players still play on ‘illegal’ sites. 43% of players admitted to playing at unlicensed sites, while 12.8% said that they never used Spanish websites to play poker.

The latest figures show that revenue from the internet poker market in the first quarter of 2015 fell by 5% to €16.8m. That’s in comparison to the total online market which grew by 14% to €77.4m, with the best performing sectors, sports betting which grew by 20% to €45.5m, and table gaming revenue which grew by 38% to €12.2m.

While the government continues to ring-fence games and charge high tax rates on rakes, players will continue to take their chips elsewhere.

Slots Finally Launched

There is no such restriction on the slots market, and with so many big international operators ready to step into the arena, Spanish players will be spoilt for choice. Slots have been the major area of growth in the gaming sector across the majority of Europe. The Spanish government is hoping that this change will boost the industry in the same way that it did for the Italian market - the latest figures revealed that slots accounted for 20% of Italian gaming revenue in 2014.

That’s of little importance to the average slots player though, and most will surely just be looking forward to more freedom of choice and a competitive marketplace. The large operators already offering services in the country will quickly add slots, and the 10 new licensees will be ready to go within months. There is likely to be a great deal of competition as operators vie for new customers, and it is an environment which players can take advantage of in terms of sign-up bonuses, welcome promotions and free bets.

The world of Spanish online casinos just got a whole lot more exciting!

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