Land and online gambling business in Spain is legalized. The market size in 2015 was estimated at EUR 33 billion. All forms of gambling are allowed. The bulk of the revenue (95%) comes from onshore sites. The most played is the National Lottery: it accounts for 55% of all bets. There are about 50 casinos in Spain. Visitors prefer to play board games, although slot machine revenue is also steadily growing. The most gambling region of the country is Catalonia. The gambling business is determined by the Spanish Gaming Act, which came into force on May 29, 2011. The main regulator is the General Directorate for Gambling Regulation, it is this body that issues state licenses.
Gambling legislation in Spain
The gambling business was legalized in 1977. The main law of May 29, 2011 is the Spanish Gaming Act. It regulates land-based and online business at the state level. Local authorities are responsible for gambling within the region.
The main regulator is the General Directorate for Gambling Regulation. The organization reports to the Ministry of Finance. Its functions are as follows:
- proposing bills to regulate the gambling market;
- definition of functional and technical requirements for games;
- issuing licenses to operators that operate in more than one region;
- control and inspection of the gambling business, as well as the imposition of penalties for non-compliance with the law;
- preparation of reports, reports, research on the gambling market.
Local authorities issue licenses to operators who operate within the region. They also oversee the business and monitor compliance with local laws. There are 17 regions in Spain.
Conditions for obtaining a license in a gambling jurisdiction
Licenses are issued for betting, casino games and other forms of games. Lottery licenses are not issued because they are a monopoly of two organizations:
- Sociedad Estatal de Loterías y Apuestas del Estado (S.M.E.);
- Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles (ONCE).
Licenses are divided into two types: general and specific. The operator must receive both. The general license permits the conduct of bets, contests (competitions) and other gambling activities. Licenses are valid for 10 years and can be renewed for another 10.
Special licenses apply to a specific game that the operator organizes. They are issued only if the total has already been received. Such licenses are valid for one to five years.
In addition, there are licenses to organize games at the federal level (nationwide) and regional level (in only one province).
The number of licenses is not limited by law. The issuance procedure is to check how reliable the operator is and whether everything meets the appropriate requirements.
Requirements for licensed operators
The organization should be based in the economic zone of the European Union and only engage in gambling business. The company must be registered with the Spanish Commercial Register. Foreign companies are registered in a similar register in their home country. In addition, they must have a permanent representative in Spain. Also compulsory registration with the General Registry of Gambling Licences.
The operator provides all the necessary documents for their finances and economics, as well as all data on technical support and personnel.
The fee is € 38,000.00 for technical advice (required), 2,500.00 for a general license and 10,000.00 for each exclusive license. This must be paid in cash.
The guarantees are € 2,000,000.00 in total (they can work as a game operator) and € 1,000,000.00 for singles (in each game mode). This does not need to be done in cash, it can be through an insurance policy
The guarantees are 2,000,000 EUR in total (the one who makes the guarantee can work as a gaming operator) and 1,000,000 EUR for a single license (in each game mode). You do not have to pay the guarantee funds in cash, and an insurance policy will do.
Upon receipt of a license, the operator pays:
- EUR 10,000 for each general and special license;
- EUR 2,500 for each license to be entered into the Gaming Registry;
- 38 000 EUR for the certification of all licenses (mandatory consultations before obtaining a license).
In addition, operators pay annual tax for the General Directorate for Gambling Regulation by January 31st. It accounts for 0.075% of the previous year’s revenue.
Licensed varieties of gambling
Gambling games defined by law and requiring a license fall into two categories: federal and regional. The list of games on the two levels is slightly different.
Federal law regulates the following games:
- sports betting pools;
- pools in horse racing;
- fixed sports bets and horse racing bets;
- contests (competitions);
- black Jack;
- slot machines;
- additional games (combine a game of luck with skills and knowledge. The main goal is entertainment).
Lotteries are held only by the two organizations described above.
Seventeen regions of the country maintain their own catalogs of gambling and gaming products, which are allowed to operators. Each region establishes its own licensing procedure. On average, the list of licensed games looks like this:
- French roulette;
- American roulette;
- black Jack;
- red and black (thirty and forty);
- slots and other gaming machines;
- tombola or charity raffles;
- sports betting;
- horse racing;
- wheel of Fortune.
All games have special licenses and separate regulations under the Spanish Gaming Act.
Gambling taxes in Spain
The amount of taxes depends on the region where the operator operates. The rates for land-based establishments are approved by the regional authorities. As an example, the scale of taxes in the Madrid region:
- 20% of Gross Revenue (GGR) – for most land-based games;
- 15% of GGR – for bingo;
- 30% of GGR – for electronic bingo;
- 10% of GGR – from online games provided in the region;
- 13% of GGR – from rates;
- 10% of GGR – from sports betting, horse racing and other types of betting.
The taxation of casino games depends on the tax base. The basis is the gross revenue. It is calculated as follows: the amount contributed by all users to play, minus the winnings and prizes paid out. If the tax base is less than EUR 2 million, then 22% is paid.
Next comes the scale for the size of the base. The maximum base is more than 5 million EUR. In this case, 45% of the gross proceeds from casino games are paid.
Online gambling in Spain
The online gambling business in Spain is showing constant and rapid growth. At the end of 2015, 52 online operators were operating. The total amount contributed by the players was EUR 8 billion. The gross revenue was EUR 319 million, or 3.7% of all contributions.
Basically, casino games and betting are being developed. Players contribute about 50% of all costs to betting and about 25% to casino games. Contests, bingo and poker are not that popular in Spain. However, the amount spent on online poker in 2015 accounted for 20.8% of all expenses. Slot machines account for only 4.6% of the funds spent by users.
Online gambling is limited. This means that residents can only play in their own region. But online operators can offer services both in the region and across the country. To do this, they receive a license at the federal level.
Online operators also receive separate licenses for each type of game. The list of licensed online games is the same as for land-based platforms: betting, raffles, contests, casino games, and so on.
Tax rates for online gambling are prescribed at the federal level. The fee depends on the type of game:
- sports betting pools – 22% of total income (turnover is the total amount contributed by all players to participate);
- fixed sports bets – 25% of GGR;
- horse rate pools – 15% of total income;
- fixed horse rates – 25% of GGR;
- raffles – 20% of total income. For non-profit organizations, the rate is 7%;
- contests – 20% of total income;
- other games (poker, casino games, bingo, slots, etc.) – 25 from GGR.
Popular slot machines in the country
Despite the relatively small market share, the number of slot machines in Spain is gradually increasing every year. In 2015, 207,245 vehicles were operating in the country.
Here are the five most popular slot machines in Spain:
- Jackpot 6,000;
- Mega Joker;
- Gonzo’s Quest;
- Dead or Alive;
- Blood Suckers.
The Cleopatra is a five-reel IGT that enjoys continued popularity in Spain and Spanish-speaking countries.
Jackpot 6,000 is a three-reel slot machine from NetEnt. It contains 5 pay lines and gives you the opportunity to hit the jackpot for wild symbols.
Mega Joker is a Greentube online slot. Contains 5 reels and offers 40 prize lines. The maximum payout is 400,000 credits for 5 jokers.
Gonzo’s Quest is a slot machine from NetEnt. It has 5 reels and 20 pay lines. The slot contains cascading reels: winning symbols disappear and are replaced by new ones, just like in a match-3 game. A chain of consecutive wins increases the prize up to 5 times. Free spins give a multiplier up to x15.
Dead or Alive is a five-reel slot machine from NetEnt. Contains 5 pay lines, two wild symbols, scatter, free spins. The maximum odds are 2,500 for five scatters.
Gambling software developers
Spain is known for the following manufacturers in the gambling business:
- CODERE Group;
CODERE Group is a company founded in 1980. She develops gaming machines, including slots, and runs several casinos, bingo halls, sports betting sites in eight countries around the world. There are offices in Spain, Mexico, Uruguay.
MGA is one of the first Spanish companies to develop slot machines for the domestic market. Founded in 1976. It develops solutions and games for online casinos, runs bingo halls and manufactures equipment for gaming clubs and casinos.
Optima is a sports betting and online casino solutions company. Her portfolio includes programs for casino and bookmaker management, data analysis and software integration.
News from the Spanish gaming industry shows that this area is actively developing and continues to grow. The online market is growing especially rapidly. The business is well regulated and provides the country with a constant flow of resources.