💰 Gaming in Spain - Lexology

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What are the legal elements required for an activity to be regarded as gambling? Spain is divided into 17 administrative divisions, known as.


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Spain has a central government and 17 autonomous regions, and two autonomous cities. Gambling was only decriminalised in Spain in


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The Spanish Gambling Act regulates, in particular, national gaming operations through electronic, interactive and technological means, which include the Internet.


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Learn about Online Gambling in Spain. Discover the history of gambling in Spain, legal regulations & popular gambling culture.


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Asensi Abogados is a boutique law firm specialised in the gaming and gambling sector. The firm represents and advises a large number of.


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Still, the country has set strict rules about the legal age of the players who are provided with the opportunity to wager. Spanish law is categorical that no minors are.


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A Look Inside Illegal Gambling

With regard to regional licences, the duration depends on each regional regulation and, if applicable, on the conditions of the public tender process. The firm mainly works for online companies as well as for land-based operators, suppliers and manufacturers. Online gambling can be offered at federal level or at regional level. Social gaming is permitted, and these games are not subject to any licence, neither at federal nor regional level. Each region has its own regulation for each type of premises licensing: casinos, gaming halls, bingos and betting shops. Games of skill do not need a licence. Land-based gambling and online gambling at regional level is regulated by each of the 17 autonomous regions in Spain. Also, it must be noted that in some cases, as it is for the casino premises, licences are subject to a public tender process. The main requirements and differences that can be identified are as follows. Online games offered at federal level require a federal licence or authorisation and entitle the holder to operate online in the whole territory. Single licences can be applied for at any time by entities holding the corresponding general licence. Entities can apply for single licences together with the general licence or at any other time, provided that the entity has already been granted with and holds the relevant general licence. Although the licensing process depends on the region and type of licence to be applied for, in general terms, the requested documentation aims to prove legal, technical and economic solvency of the applicant. General licences can only be obtained through a public tender process announced by the General Directorate for Gambling Regulation. General licences are valid for ten years, extendable by another ten. Therefore, the inclusion of a B2B operator in the concept of a gaming operator, and so the need for it to be licensed, actually depends on the specific services that the operator is interested to render in Spain and the conditions on how it would do so. If any of these elements is absent, the game will be outside the scope of gambling and the gambling regulation will not apply for example, pure skill games will be excluded or prizes in virtual currency with no monetary value. The Gambling Act defines online gambling as games performed through electronic channels, IT and interactive systems, when any device, equipment or system is employed to produce, store or transfer documents, data or information, including through any public or private communication network. The requirements and conditions vary depending on the region and type of licence that an entity is interested in applying for. Depending on the autonomous region, they can also be offered at regional level and in both cases, they are subject to licence. Once the certification documentation is submitted, the General Directorate for Gambling Regulation proceeds with the review and granting of the definitive licences within a maximum term of two months. To do so, the entity will also need to obtain a single licence per each type of game within its category. As a result of a compilation of the different regulations, the key offences can be summarised as indicated below. Customarily, licences are valid for a period of ten years, extendable by another ten. From the regulatory perspective, there has been a relevant change in the verification process of customers, reinforcing the online verification procedure with a mandatory secondary verification based on documents or digital onboarding.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} There have been around 30 applicants and there are now 80 licensed operators in Spain. The most relevant legislation that is pending at federal level and in most of the autonomous regions is the regulation on advertising and responsible gambling. To obtain definitive licences, operators must submit the definitive certifications report of the technical systems before the DGOJ within a maximum term of four months from the provisional granting. On the other hand, some of the regional authorities have already approved new ID controls at the entrance of gaming halls and have regulated the minimum distances between betting shops and gaming halls, and minimum distances between these premises and educational centres. At regional level, each region has competence to establish its own licences and its own licensing procedure and regime. Initially, the licences are granted with a provisional nature. There have been recent changes since some cities, such as Madrid and Barcelona, are implementing legislative measures to prohibit or suspend the granting of new authorisations to open gambling halls or betting shops. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}Asensi Abogados is a boutique law firm specialised in the gaming and gambling sector. In addition, those meeting the requirements above that also manage gaming platforms, in which they are members, or that other gaming operators join and where they put in common stakes coming from their respective users, will be considered as gaming operators and gaming co-organisers. The games that have been regulated so far and therefore are permitted to be offered at federal level are: pools on sports betting, fixed-odds sports betting, pools on horse racing, fixed-odds horse racing, other fixed-odds betting, exchange sports betting, exchange horse racing, other exchange betting games, contests, poker, bingo, roulette, complementary games, blackjack, baccarat and slots. Instead of a specific regulation per type of game, each autonomous region approves a catalogue of games that are permitted and can be offered. The most relevant expected sector development both at federal and regional level — although some autonomous regions have already approved their regime — is the regulation on advertising and responsible gambling, which is specially addressed to the online gambling sector. For online gambling licence applications at federal level, entities must satisfy the following administrative fees:. Before discussing the approach to gambling regulation in Spain, a differentiation should be made between:. The prizes can be in cash or in kind, depending on the type of game. Regarding general licences for online gambling at federal level, there have been three public calls since the approval of the Spanish Gambling Act in Spain in in , and The latest window announced in December was opened up for one year and entities could apply for licences until December General licences are currently not available and can only be applied for during a public call announced for such purpose. Single licences have a minimum duration of one year and a maximum duration of five, depending on the type of gambling product, and these are also extendable by successive periods of the same duration. In addition to the fine, the regulator is entitled to revoke the licence, to impose a temporary removal of the licence for a maximum period of four years or to close the media through which information society services are delivered and that support the gambling activities. Therefore, the requirements for licensing depend on the premises and autonomous region. The regulatory tendency in Spain is aimed at reinforcing the protection of players, public order, prevention of addictive behaviour, fraud and money laundering. The Spanish regulation does not distinguish between B2C or B2B licences, neither between the law applicable to the operations of one operator or the other. In both cases, administrative infractions are divided into three groups: very serious, serious and minor. None of the three public tenders limited the number of operators that could be granted with a licence, nor the number of licences to be granted. For regional licence applications, the cost depends on the region and the type of licence applied for. The communication network can include television, the internet, landlines, mobile phones or any other interactive communication system, either in real time or recorded. It is important to highlight that the various formats of gambling products approved and listed above might permit different modalities both at federal and regional level for example, different modalities of blackjack, roulette, poker, etc. Each regional gaming regulation approves its own sanctioning regime; however, in most of them, unlawful gaming is sanctioned with a fine of up to EUR, In addition to the fine, regulators are entitled to revoke the licence or to impose a temporary removal of the licence for a maximum period of five years. The timing of the application process depends on the applicable regulation, type of licence and conditions approved by the corresponding public tender, if applicable. The expiry of the general licence that the single licence is linked to implies the expiry thereof. Therefore, this is a restricted product. Although there are differences between the application requirements for land-based with slight differences among the regions and online operators subject to the Gambling Act, the requirements are always divided into three sections in order to prove the legal, economic and technical solvency. The regulatory authority for regional gambling — both online and land-based — depends on each autonomous region and these are usually under the umbrella of the relevant regional departments of finance or the interior. For online gambling licences at federal level, there is an annual fee of 0. There have been recent legislative developments in this regard, both at federal level and in the different autonomous regions that have competences over their land-based gambling as well as online gambling developed in the relevant region. The main changes in this regard are as follows. The key legislation for land-based and online gambling at regional level is approved by each of the 17 autonomous regions in Spain and therefore each autonomous region has its own Gambling Act and secondary regulations developing the Gambling Act. The definition of the concept "gaming operator" states that an operator needs to obtain a licence in Spain if it meets the following requirements: i it wholly or partly runs a gambling activity and its incomes are linked to gross or net revenue, commissions and whatsoever any other amounts related to gaming services and, at the same time, ii it performs any commercialising gambling activity, such as determining the prizes for tournaments, managing players' rules, transactions and payment settlements, and managing the gaming platform or the registration of users. In this sense, the General Directorate for Gambling Regulation, the authority in charge of the regulation of online gambling at federal level, has recently approved, among others, a strengthened regime for the ID verification process of players, a guidance on the management of fraud and a new service for citizens and operators in order to control identity theft. It must be noted that any interested party may request a new call for gambling licences at least 18 months after the previous call. LAE and ONCE maintain the monopoly on lotteries offered at federal level and only some regions allow lottery operators. For example, should an entity wish to commercialise bingo, baccarat and poker, it will need one general licence Other games and three single licences bingo, baccarat and poker. Affiliates do not need to hold a licence in Spain as far as they do not register clients, nor maintain an agreement or gaming account with them. This authority is under the umbrella of the Ministry of Finance and is competent to exercise the functions of issuing federal licences, drafting the regulation, supervision of games, enforcement and sanctioning of gambling activities at federal level. Through winning the correspondent public tender convoked by Coljuegos, the Colombian gaming regulator, Asensi Abogados was the official adviser for the development of the first online regulation within the Latin American Region. In other words, all those operators that met the requirements established within the tender obtained the licence. For instance, the last window to apply for general licences for online gambling at federal level was opened for one year and interested parties were entitled to apply for their licences between December and December The General Directorate for Gambling Regulation DGOJ had a term of six months from the submission of the relevant applications to issue or refuse them. It must be noted that operators can start operating with the provisional licence. Given the regulatory distinction for the gambling sector in Spain, infractions and the related sanctioning regime are approved both by the Spanish Gambling Act and by each autonomous region with respect to its territory and competition. Notwithstanding that there are some minor differences between the regions, the gaming products approved and permitted are generally the following: roulette, blackjack, boule, trente et quarante thirty and forty , craps, baccarat, poker, slots and other machine gaming, bingo, raffles, tombola or charity raffles, betting, sports betting, horse racing and wheel of fortune. If a game is not regulated or does not fit in any of the specific regulations in force, that game is not permitted. The firm represents and advises a large number of international gaming companies with interests located within the Spanish and Latin American market. Betting, bingo and casino games are permitted and subject to licence both at federal and regional level. The duration of licences depends on each region and type of licence. The land-based gambling sector is currently implementing certain changes with the aim of reinforcing the protection of vulnerable individuals, such as minors or people registered in the General Game Access Interdiction Register. The regulatory approach for land-based gambling is based on the licensing or authorisation regime approved by each autonomous region. Only charitable organisations can organise lotteries. However, land-based gambling or online games offered at regional level in one specific or several regions require the relevant licence or authorisation from the relevant autonomous region. Customarily, the timing for the regulator to review and proceed with the granting of the relevant licence takes between three and six months from the submission of the application. The Gambling Act defines gambling as an activity where amounts of money or economically measurable objects are put at risk on uncertain and future events, dependent at least to some extent on chance and that allow these sums to be transferred between the participants, regardless of whether the level of skill of the players is decisive in the results or they depend wholly or fundamentally on luck or chance. There are certain differences among the regions; however, the gaming products permitted are generally the following: roulette, blackjack, boule, trente et quarante, craps, baccarat, poker, slots and other machine gaming, bingo, raffles, tombola or charity raffles, betting, sports betting, horse racing and wheel of fortune. Additionally, some regions have developed their regulations to approve procedures of authorisation to install physical accessory terminals, which allow participation in online games licensed at federal level in land-based premises. Spain has recently gone through a third licensing process in order to apply for general licences. As previously explained, land-based gambling and online gambling at regional level is regulated by each of the 17 autonomous regions in Spain and therefore each autonomous region has its own catalogue of games approved and permitted. To offer online gambling in Spain at federal level, entities must obtain a general licence per each category of game betting, contest or other games and also a single licence for each type of game included in its general licence category. For regional land-based licences, the processes are approved by each autonomous region and depending on the type of licence and region, there can be limits on the number of licences available for example, licences for betting shops in the Canary Islands or the licences can be limited to one and subject to a public tender process as it is, for example, for the licences for land-based casinos. Customarily, entities apply for federal licences, since this way they can offer online gambling in the whole territory, without having to apply for licences at regional level. Therefore, online gambling in Spain is regulated both at federal and regional level, and the applicable regulation and gambling products legally approved depend on whether these are commercialised at national level or only at regional level in one or some specific autonomous regions in Spain. In other words, general licences per se are not valid to offer games. Gambling regulation in Spain is divided between online gambling that is offered at federal level and land-based or online gambling that is offered within one specific region. Fantasy sports can be offered at federal level if they fit under any of the single licences approved by the regulation.