Spain: Re-opening of the market and regulation of slots and exchange betting

By Albert Agustinoy, DLA Piper Spain

Today the Spanish media have leaked the draft decrees that the regulator has prepared in order to approve the operation of exchange betting and slot games. This appears to be the ultimate confirmation of the process of approval of these games moving forward, something that is very good news for the industry in a market that has been struggling in the last months.

Regardless of these obvious good news, the moment where these new games may be offered in the Spanish regulated market is not close yet. Certainly, a long process is still ahead as these drafts shall be firstly presented and discussed with the regional authorities in a meeting to be held next week. Afterwards, the Spanish regulator (DGOJ) will likely publish these draft decrees in its website, in order to allow the industry and any interested party to file comments. This public comments phase will probable last between ten and fifteen days. Once the term for filing comments ends, the DGOJ will be reviewing them and will amend the draft decrees to the extent that deems necessary. In a final stage, the resulting draft decrees shall be approved by the Tax Ministry and published in the Official Gazette.

One of the most remarkable features that derive from reviewing these draft documents is that they show that the Spanish authorities will not just be approving new games but also re-opening the market, with the launching of a new tender that will allow the entry of additional operators in the Spanish market.

As mentioned above, these developments respond to the demands of the industry and, in particular, to the need to ensure that the regulated offer of games may be sufficiently comprehensive and attractive and become a reasonable alternative to the non-regulated operators. In this respect, slot games have been for a long time the key missing piece of the puzzle for ensuring a reasonable offering of games.

In this respect, pursuant to the leaked draft decree it would seem that the Spanish authorities have decided to approach the regulation of slot games with the aim of ensuring a reasonably attractive regulated product. Hence, pursuant to the text of the draft decree, number of interesting features would be availalbe under the future regulatory framework: a wide variety of games could be operated; progressive jackpots could be offered; automatic playing mode could be used; etc.

In a similar way, exchange betting should also be approved shortly in Spain. This development would allow counting with a complete and update catalogue of betting modalities that should ensure a competitive offering of this type of products in Spain.

These are promising news and let us hope that the above-described developments lead to a more competitive and developed Spanish market.

In case you have any doubt or comment on these important developments, please do not hesitate to contact Albert Agustinoy (albert.agustinoy@dlapiper.com).