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Spain Ratifies New Law Regarding Online Gambling

The Spanish Congress of Deputies has ratified amendments introduced by the Senate to the online gaming law. For the first time in Spain since it was decriminalized in 1977, these new measures will regulate the business of online gambling. These new laws have finally been approved with the support of all parliamentary groups. This week the first Spain online gaming license was granted to Grand Casino Madrid.

Following in the footsteps of other European countries
Spain is the latest in a string of European countries to have legalized and regulated the online gambling industry in an attempt to secure further tax revenue for the state. With the fantastic growth of the online gambling industry over the past decade the potential for tax revenue has enticed the likes of France, Greece, Denmark and the Netherlands. This is an exciting time for online players throughout Europe.

A new tax regime and operating licenses
A draft which was approved by the Council of Ministers in early February and then fast-tracked through the courts, has put in place new laws regarding a tax regime for online betting as well as establishing the framework for a system of licenses to operators who want to operate in Spain. It has also put in place a number of guarantees to protect minors and people with problem gambling. The land based casino operator Gran Madrid is officially the first online operator to have received a license on May 17th 2011. The Spanish government has been keen to fast-track this process in order to launch an IPO this summer to privatize the national public lottery (LAE) in an aim to raise €6 billion in revenue from selling 30% stock to help the national debt.

Solution to the legal vacuum in Spain
During the final vote in the plenary session, Gloria Rivero member of the PSOE pointed out that the new law applied to online gambling will put an end to the “legal vacuum” which up until now had meant that there was no legal framework in place legislating online gambling in Spain.

She hopes that this new "clear and precise" legal framework will serve to give "a positive momentum" to the online gambling sector and create new jobs as well as provide a "more attractive and safe leisure" environment for online users.

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