The controversy surrounding Spanish regulation of online poker continues. In a surprise twist, Spanish authorities have informed that newly licensed operators will not be able to offer a direct transfer of player accounts to the new .es clients.
The troubles surrounding the legalization of online poker
in Spain continues with a new surprise clarification message from Spanish authorities yesterday.
The Spanish license-based market is supposed to go live with its first operators on June 5 following more than six months of delays, and has already caused major controversy in the industry.
Besides the delay and the prospect of a heavily limited market for players, Spanish authorities informed two weeks ago that some of the biggest licensees would have to pay back taxes dating back to 2008 in order to obtain a license.
Now, the government has issued a last-minute statement via the Spanish Gambling Commission, declaring that neither player accounts or balances can be transferred from their former domains on to the new .es platforms.
Not only does this mean that players will have to withdraw and redeposit in order to play on the Spanish market, players will also lose their VIP points if they follow this process.
PokerStars, according to Pokerfuse
will for example not be able to honor those who are currently chasing Supernova or Supernova Elite statuses.
Moreover, new accounts cannot be tagged to their original affiliates.
The statement is likely to come as a blow to the operators who paid millions of euro in order to be granted access into the newly regulated market.
Among the biggest companies to have agreed to the surprise tax bill were bwin-party, SportingBet, 888, and PokerStars, who was reported to be facing a €200 million back tax claim.