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Spanish Sports Betting

In December 2006, the Spanish federal government enacted legislation allowing sports betting in dedicated betting shops, betting kiosks (bars, arcades and bingo halls) and remote betting (telephone and internet). Regional governments may regulate sports betting as they see fit. Madrid established a fixed-license fee and offers a limited number of licenses. Licenses initially last five years, are renewable, and license holders may open as many shops and outlets they wish. The license allows operators to take bets on casino and bingo games, sports and other competitions.

LAE, the national lottery operator, is the biggest provider of sports betting services in the country and is the only operator to offer its services in the entire country. However, with passing of the Gambling Regulation Act 13/2011 in mid-2011, this should change, since the Act lifts the prohibition of foreign operators providing their services in Spain.

In January 2007, Ladbrokes and Cirsa Slot Corporation announced the formation of Sportium, a split joint venture company, to develop a sports betting business in Spain. Sportium currently has around 170 outlets.

In August 2008, sports betting shops were approved for the Basque and Madrid regions. A number of them opened at the end of the year. Some of the operators ended up pulling out of land-based operations because liberalization of the betting market failed to extend to other Spanish regions. William Hill was one of the major international operators that had to leave the Spanish market after it was unable to expand beyond the Basque region.

In 2009, the regional government of Murcia approved a draft of the Gambling Regulation Act for the region, which includes rules for betting shops.

In May 2013, the Gambling Regulation Act was passed in Spain. The legislation is germane to lotteries, bets and cross-border gambling activities. The Law created a new organization, the National Gambling Commission, to authorize, supervise and monitor the gambling activity of operators. Those who do not operate within the law may be fined upward of EUR 50 million.
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