Land-based gambling


What types of land-based gambling are permitted in your jurisdiction, and is gambling regulated at a national or subnational level?

The following land-based gambling activities are permitted in Spain:

  • casinos;
  • bingo;
  • slot machines;
  • betting shops; and
  • lotteries.

Applicable requirements to operate each activity depend on the autonomous community where the activity is performed, as land-based gambling is regulated at a subnational level.

Pursuant to the Gambling Act, operation of national non-occasional lottery games is reserved for two operators: the LAE and ONCE, a Spanish foundation aimed at supporting people with serious visual impairment and other disabilities.

Establishment licensing

Please describe the licensing criteria to operate land-based gambling of each type or classification. Does your jurisdiction limit the number of available licences?

Although licensing criteria vary depending on the relevant autonomous community, in general:

  • Casino licences are awarded pursuant to public tender processes.
  • Bingo halls require two authorisations from the relevant autonomous community: authorisation for the installation of the bingo hall premises and authorisation for the operation of the bingo hall. The requirements for the installation authorisation include proving the availability of a site, providing a guarantee to the relevant autonomous community in order to ensure compliance with regional regulations, obtaining the relevant local permit to operate the bingo hall premises and the relevant local planning council’s permission to build on the proposed site. The requirements for the operation authorisation include filing certain documents with the regional authority, such as a list of employees, and complying with an on-site inspection of the bingo hall premises.
  • Slot machine manufacturers, distributors and operators must register with and be approved by the gaming authority of the autonomous community in which they intend to conduct operations. Each type of slot machine must comply with specific requirements set forth in the applicable laws and regulations of the autonomous community where they are located. Registration of the relevant model is mandatory prior to obtaining any of the authorisations to manufacture, market, distribute or operate each slot machine model. Additionally, each slot machine must be marked with the name of the manufacturer and the operating permit.
  • Betting shops generally require the registration of the operator and the deposit of a guarantee of an amount that varies depending on the autonomous community.
  • Lotteries are reserved state-wide to the LAE and ONCE, and few autonomous communities have subnational lottery operators (eg, Catalonia, where lottery operations are carried out by a body belonging to the regional government).

With respect to limits to the number of available licences, most autonomous communities restrict the number of gambling premises that can be placed on specific areas. For instance, sites at which slot machines can be placed and the number of slot machines per site are regulated. Most autonomous communities allow only one or two slot machines per bar, café or restaurant, or a certain number per gambling hall.

Director, officer and owner licensing

Must individual directors, officers or owners of licensees also be licensed or reviewed for suitability?

Yes. In general, controlling shareholders and directors of gambling companies must not have been convicted of a criminal offence.


May a gambling location be part of a resort, restaurant or other multi-purpose location? What limitations apply?

Yes. Slot machines are usually placed in a bar, café or restaurant, some of which are also points of sale for lottery. Bingo halls and betting shops usually offer food and drinks. In turn, casinos are specific-purpose locations (which offer ancillary services as well, such as food, drinks and concerts).

Passive/institutional ownership

Are there provisions for passive or institutional ownership that allow for exemption or modification of licensing requirements?


Responsible gambling

What responsible gambling obligations apply to licensees?

There is a centrally maintained exclusion list of persons who may not gamble, which each licensee must check and implement.


What type of tax and what tax rate applies to each form of lawful land-based gambling activity?

Gambling activities are subject to gambling tax and the gambling duty, which are managed and collected by the Spanish State Tax Administration Agency (AEAT) or, as the case may be, the autonomous communities or applicable tax region where the gambling businesses are located.

The gambling tax is managed and collected by the Spanish AEAT and is based on applying fixed tax rates ranging from 15 per cent to 25 per cent, depending on the gambling activity, to either the game’s gross revenue (in the case of mutual bets, raffles and contests) or the game’s net revenue (in the case of bets with consideration or other games).

The main business subject to gambling tax is digital sports betting. For this type of business, gambling tax is triggered at a 25 per cent rate on the game’s net revenue. Gambling tax will accrue on 1 January every year and must be filed and paid on a quarterly basis (within the next month after the end of every quarter).

The gambling duty is managed and collected by each of the autonomous communities in which the gambling businesses are located. The gambling duty tax period depends on the particular regulations passed by each regional government. As a general rule, tax periods elapse:

  • on a quarterly basis in the Canary Islands, Cantabria, Catalonia, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja and Madrid;
  • each semester in Andalusia and Castilla-La Mancha; and
  • on an annual basis in Álava, Aragón, Asturias, the Balearic Islands, Castilla y León, Gipuzkoa, Murcia, Navarre, C Valenciana and Biscay.

The taxation applicable to each of the gambling businesses is particularly complex, as it depends on the specialities included in each tax region.

In addition to the gambling tax and the gambling duty, there is an administrative gaming management duty equal to 0.075 per cent of the gross revenue of the corresponding game, which is payable annually on 31 December. This duty should only apply to those games subject to, and not exempt from, gambling tax. Specific duties (in most cases, not significant) also apply to specific administrative actions related to gaming.