Spanish Online Casinos
Spain is a member of the European Union and the native currency of Spain is the Euro. Thanks to the Euro, citizens of Spain have access to lots of online gambling sites. Europe is a major market for online casinos, especially after many were forced out of the North American market. Because of a focus on the European market, it’s easy to find online casino sites that do business in Euros.
Spanish online casinos are any online casino sites that accept bets from citizens of Spain and allow financial transactions in Euros. Though the legal landscape of online gambling in Spain is changing, Spanish people do for the most part currently have access to legal online gambling. Big changes are on the horizon for online gambling in Spain, as the Spanish government moves to regulate and control online casino gambling much like state governments in the US or governments in some regions of Europe.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Spain?
Spain has fairly relaxed gambling laws. All forms of gambling are legal in Spain, including traditional casino gambling, online casino play, lotteries, and sportsbooks. All of these forms of gambling are controlled by the government, but are available in some form in Spain’s borders.
Legal gambling in Spain is a product of the late 20th century. For 150 years of Spain’s history, from the early 19th century into the 1970s, all forms of gambling were illegal in Spain except for state-sponsored lotteries. In 1977, the Spanish government, hurting for new sources of revenue, legalized and started regulating skill-based gambling. It took another four years for the Spanish government to get comfortable enough with gambling revenue to legalize games of chance, so slot machines and other luck-based games weren’t legal until 1981.
These days, the Spanish gambling industry is in a period of renaissance, making Spain one of the busiest gambling nations in the world. The Spanish people spend twice as much on gambling every year as the gambling-happy UK. Because of heightened activity in gaming, new legislation has been passed or is in the works to give the Spanish government a piece of the online gambling pie.
In 2008, Spain was divided into 17 gambling districts, with each region given the exclusive power to grant gambling licenses. As of this writing, Spain is home to 40 casinos and more than 250,000 gambling machines such as slots in airports and bars. The only country with more standalone gaming machines is the UK. Sportsbooks are hugely popular in this football-crazed country, with legal sports gambling making up a big chunk of the increased gaming revenue throughout Spain.
In order to gain a foothold in the online market, new legislation about online gambling in Spain is changing as this is being written. Starting in 2002, the Spanish government started researching ways to regulate and legalize online gambling and allow for online casino sites to earn gaming licenses from the Spanish government. According to industry analysts, we will see Spanish-based online gambling licenses available to EU-based casino site operators sometime in the next two years.
In short, online casino gambling is fully legal throughout Spain. In fact, Spanish gamblers will soon have a lot of new options for online gambling, thanks to the Spanish governments involvement in the control of online gambling websites.
Spanish Online Casinos & Playing For Real Money in Euros
The Euro is one of the most valuable currencies in the world, and also one of the most widely-accepted currencies at online casino sites. Finding a casino that does business in Euros can save you from paying stiff fees or spending time and money converting your own currency.
Since citizens of Spain use the Euro as their native currency, it is important for online gamblers in Spain to play at real online casinos that accept financial transactions in Euros. Currency conversion is a possibility, especially since so many eWallets and other payment transfer methods have their own currency conversion systems, but since so many online casinos accept the Euro for deposits and withdrawals, there’s no reason to choose the expense of currency conversion and the time added to your transaction while you want for your currency to convert.
While you’re at it, look for casinos that offer their software or customer support services in Spanish. Many Spanish people speak Spanish as their native language, though a small portion of the population of Spain speak Catalan. It is far easier to find an online casino that supports the Spanish language than one that supports Catalan. But the good news is, many international casino websites do offer Spanish software or customer service. With so many online casinos catering to Spanish players, it doesn’t make sense to stumble through another language or struggle to use another currency.
The Future of Online Casinos in Spain
For the first time since gambling was decriminalized in 1977 and then again in 1981, there have been big changes to Spanish online gambling law, and more are on their way.
The Spanish Council of Ministers is working on legislation that is being fast-tracked through the Spanish political system to put laws in place that build a tax plan for all online bets. These laws will also outline the legal framework for Spain’s casino gambling licensing system, a guide for casino operators that want to earn casino gambling licensing or work directly with Spanish gamblers.
Like pro-gambling legislation in other countries, these new laws are designed to protect minors and problem gamblers; this was required to get the law through the more conservative areas of the Spanish government.
Already, one land based Spanish casino operator (Gran Madrid) has earned the first online operator license from Spain, a feat they accomplished in May of 2011. The next step for the Spanish government will be to launch an IPO in 2012 to privatize their national public lottery, providing additional tax revenue of €6 billion to help put a dent in the national debt. We can only assume that an IPO for the new Spanish casino gambling venture can follow.
The Spanish government was uncomfortable with what it called a “legal vacuum” that online gambling operated in, the same legal vacuum that online gambling occupies in North America. Without a legal framework in place to control online gambling in Spain, the Spanish government was essentially allowing unregulated gambling to take place. Other world governments would be smart to follow Spain’s example.