Spain is one of the few countries that have a fully-regulated gambling scene. In fact, it is safe to say that Spain’s gambling market is one of the oldest when it comes to regulations, being that the very first gambling laws were introduced way back in 1276. Despite this, gambling in Spain has been prohibited and legalized many times since the first laws in 1276. It wasn’t until 1977 that Spain got a legal continuity when it comes to gambling, with the exception of the lottery which is legal without interruptions since 1763.
Similarly to this, online gambling is also legal and fully regulated in Spain. The first legislation regarding online gambling was passed in 2006, and at the beginning, the only operators allowed to legally offer their services were two state-owned lottery companies and sports betting operators. In 2007, the Spanish national gambling regulator DGOJ (Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego), a regulatory body that is part of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, introduced a new law that allowed the existence of lotteries owned by private operators.
Gambling In Spain
What is interesting in this situation is that despite the law of 2006 allowing for the national lottery owned by the state, the Lotteries y Apuestas del Estado, to issue licenses to private operators from the sports betting and lottery verticals, these private operators weren’t allowed to on the market until the introduction of the Spanish Gambling Act in 2011. And despite the fact that the Law on Measures to Develop the Information Society allowed the development of a dedicated licensing system, the licenses weren’t issued until the Spanish Gambling Act in 2011.
Thankfully, with the introduction of the Spanish Gambling Act in 2011 everything changed. Despite the nationwide control of online gambling on a federal level, today, Spain has every form of online gambling legalized and regulated. This includes online casino gambling, online poker, online sports betting, online bingo, online lottery, and even bitcoin wagering. To ensure player safety, the government of Spain introduced several restrictions regarding gambling advertisements, harmful, promotions, and gambling sponsorships.
More specifically, as part of the revision of the Royal Decree on Gambling Advertising, an initiative by the Minister of Consumer Affairs Alberto Garzon, welcome bonuses are completely banned in Spain. Moreover, gambling sponsorships in sports cannot appear on shirts or stadiums, as well as used for naming rights. Lastly, gambling advertisements by private gambling companies across all mediums (tv, radio, online) are all only allowed in the window between 1 am to 5 am. Despite all of this, Spain still remains one of the better-regulated countries when it comes to gambling.
History Of Gambling In Spain
From here, let’s have a look at the history of gambling in Spain chronologically.
1276 – gambling is first legalized as noted in the Ordanimento de lasTafurerias by Alfonso X de Castilla, allowing the activity in royal gambling venues.
1753 – the lottery is legalized
1811 – the establishment of Spain’s biggest lottery, El Gordo de Navidad (Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad), with draws being held on the 22nd of December each year, to this day
1814 – the opening of the first casino in Spain, the Real Casino Antiguo of Castillon, which still operates to this day as Puerta del Sol
1977 – introduction of Spain’s first modern gambling legislation
2007 – the first legislation that allowed private operators to offer online gambling services
2011 – introduction of the Spanish Gambling Act, the final and current gambling legislation in Spain
Being that Spain is a federation that consists of 17 provinces, the federal legislation on online gambling applies to all operators that provide their services within the borders of the country. When it comes to land-based gambling, on the other hand, local gambling facilities and venues fall under the legislative administration of local, i.e. regional authorities. In other words, online gambling is currently legal across all 17 Spanish provinces.
As we said earlier, the nationwide regulator tasked with controlling and overseeing the Spanish gambling market, in addition to issuing gambling licenses, is the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ). This means that the only online gambling platforms that are legally allowed to offer their services are operators that have obtained licenses from the DGOJ. Unlicensed gambling websites and betting platforms will be blocked by Spanish internet providers, and as a result, excluded from Spain’s internet infrastructure.
From here, all 17 provinces are considered autonomous, and as such, they all have their dedicated licensing/gambling authorities. The responsibility of these regulators is to issue licenses and oversee all gambling operators within their region. The only exception to this is when it comes to gambling activities across the nation, such as nationwide lottery, gambling operators that operate across several regions, SMS gambling, and online gambling. In all of these cases, the one and only regulator is the DGOJ. With that being said, let’s have a look at the gambling authority in each of the 17 provinces.
Andalusia – Junta de Andalucia
Catalonia – Autonomous Government of Catalonia
Madrid – Government of the Community of Madrid
Valencia – Generalitat Valenciana
Galicia – Galician Gambling Commission
Castille and Leon – Centro de Regional de Control de Calidad de Castilla y León – CRCC
Basque – Eusko Jaurlaritzza
Castilla La Mancha – Junta de Comunidades de Castilla La Mancha
Canary Island – Commission on Gambling and Betting
Region of Murcia – Comunidad Autónoma de la Región de Murcia – Servicio de Gestión y Tributación del Juego
Aragon – Corresponde a la Dirección General de Interior y Protección Civil
Extremadura – Junta de Extremadura
Balearic Islands – Dirección General de Comercio
Asturias – Principado de Asturias
Navarre – Gobierno de Navarre
Cantabria – Servicio de Juego y Espectáculos – Dirección General de Interior
La Rioja – Dirección General de Tributos