Remote gambling

Types

Is remote gambling permitted and, if so, what types?

Yes. In order for an online gambling game to be permitted in Spain, it must be specifically regulated by the Ministry of Finance and Taxation. As of today, there are 14 regulated (permitted) types of online game in Spain:

  • slot machines;
  • roulette;
  • baccarat;
  • bingo;
  • blackjack;
  • poker;
  • fixed-odds horse betting;
  • fixed-odds sports betting;
  • other fixed-odds betting;
  • complementary games;
  • betting exchanges;
  • sports pools betting;
  • horse pool betting; and
  • contests.
Licensing

What are the criteria for obtaining a licence to operate remote gambling?

The operation of remote gambling activities is subject to the granting of a licence by the DGOJ. The Gambling Act distinguishes two types of licence: general and specific.

Any operator interested in the provision of non-occasional games must obtain a 10-year general licence for the relevant general category of game identified by the Gambling Act it intends to offer: bets, contests or other games.

The exploitation of each of the specific games within the scope of a general licence is subject to the granting of a one- to five-year specific licence.

How do the licensing criteria for remote gambling operators differ from those applicable to land-based operators?

The DGOJ is authorised to award general licences by calling a public tender. The process intended to award general licences through a public tender may be initiated by the DGOJ directly or in response to a third-party request. Once a public tender is called for the granting of general licences for a given category of game, no further public tenders may be called until 18 months have lapsed from the previous tender for the same category of game.

The terms of the tender cannot limit the number of licences to be awarded unless the DGOJ concludes, prior to carrying out the corresponding procedure, that it is necessary to limit the game that is the subject of the tender and limit the number of operators entitled to provide it. This limitation may be only based on reasons of public interest, protection of youths or the prevention of gambling addiction. To date, the number of licences has not been limited in any tender.

General licences may be granted for a 10-year period with the possibility for renewal for a subsequent 10-year period, except for cases in which the number of general licences awarded was limited and certain circumstances set forth in the Gambling Act occur that justify the need to call a new public tender after the initial term elapsed.

Operators holding a general licence are entitled to apply for specific licences. Prior regulation of the relevant specific game is mandatory in order to apply for the corresponding specific licence. Any gambling activity carried out without holding the appropriate licences is forbidden. This was the case of exchange betting until 2014: the game was defined under the Gambling Act; however, unlike other specific games, it was unregulated and therefore exchange betting was not allowed.

Specific licences are granted for a term of between one and five years, with the possibility of renewal for subsequent terms of the same period. The regulations governing each type of game establish the term of the corresponding specific licences and the conditions for renewal.

Cross-border gambling

May operators located in other countries offer internet gambling to consumers in your jurisdiction without obtaining a licence there?

No. Licences and authorisations issued by foreign countries (including EU and EEA member states) are not valid or recognised in Spain. Operators licensed in EEA member states may apply for recognition of their licences in Spain through the issuance of a Spanish licence, but the original foreign licence is not the valid title per se.

May operators licensed in your jurisdiction offer internet gambling to consumers in other countries?

No.

Taxes

What tax rate applies to each form of remote gambling?

See question 15.