Spain is ready to regulate online poker, with a complete market overhaul planned to take place by the beginning of 2012. The new model, however, outlines a number of strict restrictions on both providers and players.
Spain is looking to become the next European country to introduce regulation of online poker
, with new legislation due to come into force early next year.
An overhaul of Spanish online gambling law has been underway for some time already, but it now seems as if the changes are ready to be implemented, promising for legal and regulated poker for all Spanish players.
The change, however, comes with a number of strict restrictions.
A cause of massive concern in the negotiations and refinements of the law has been the battle against gambling addiction, and this is clearly visible in the outlines of the new law, which according to Pokerstrategy.com
will introduce a limit of €10 on big blinds, meaning that the highest level of play will be NL1000.
Additionally, players will only be allowed to play with 100 big blinds, as well as the maximum buy-in for tournaments will be set to €250.
On top of this, there will be a number of deposit limits on individual players, with the highest possible deposit a month being set at €3,000.
These limits can be removed or altered, but players will have to undergo a special "responsibility test" and analyses of player habits before this can happen.
Furthermore, and perhaps most noteworthy, the Spanish market will be isolated in the sense that Spanish players will only be able to play against players on their own .es platforms.
From 2013, Spanish players may be able to play against other "trustworthy" states with similar legislations, such as Italy or France.
Finally, providers will also be subjected to a 25% to 30% tax of net income. All companies seeking a license will need to have at least one office on a physical address within the European Union as well as a representative in Spain.
Furthermore all domains must end with .es, and server data must be available to regulators and financial institutions at all times.
The offering is believed to have spurred applications from a handful of large online gambling providers, including giants such as PokerStars