With the aim to help the national online regulated market to grow, Spain is granting a number of new gaming licenses to operators. This strategy will also benefit the wider economy. The Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ) announced that the licenses would be for operators who plan to focus on casino games and online slots.
Applications will be open both for operators have a different DGOJ license, as well as operators that are not currently active in Spain's regulated online gambling industry but would like to become.
According to Albert Agustinoy Guilayn, a DLA Piper Spain partner and gambling specialist revision of Spain's licensing is something that many operators have been waiting for. It is believed that this may be a way to revitalise the struggling market.
Signs of struggle
A report, which was recently issued by Spain's CODERE Foundation and the Institute of Policy and Governance of the Charles III University, shows that nearly half of the country's online poker players currently play their games on illegal sites.
Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the figures in DGOJ’s research confirm that gross gaming revenue is declined by 6% between the second quarter of 2013 and 2014. As far as poker performance is considered, there was €15.39 generated in the second quarter of 2014. On the other hand, generally speaking cash game revenue decreased by 8.4% between the second quarter of 2013 and 2014. These figures definitely emphasises the industry’s struggles.
What is Spain trying to do about it?
Up to now Spain was hesitating to grant new licenses. However, it is speculated that the county’s struggling economy has played a role in this as well as the decline in the fortunes of online poker operators.
Be that as it may, it is expected that many global operators will take advantage of this opportunity and submit licensing requests. Apart from new operators it is also likely that the current Spanish operators will also apply for new licenses in this round.
According to a statement that a gaming consultant Eduardo Morales-Hermo gave to the eGaming Reviews it is possible that 10 to 12 new applicants will likely enter the industry. The aim is of this new licensing round is not only to increase taxation revenue, but also to cut down on revenue lost to unlicensed gaming operators.
Spanish authorities hope to achieve the effect that helped the Italian regulate their casino market in 2013. However, it is not clear yet how they will deal with the issue of illegal operators.