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The History of Gambling In Spain



Eddy Cheung

Spain is a legal nation of gamblers, and there is a high probability the thriving gambling industry contributes to most of its national income. Currently, the country boasts of having over 60 casinos, 250,000 slot machines, and seven racetracks spread over 35 cities. The most common type of betting in Spain is the state national lottery (Loteria Nacional), which operates to assist the Catholic Church and charity activities. Nonetheless, the country still has strict measures regarding the legal gambling age. Individuals under 18 are not allowed to either gamble online or entering gaming arenas such as bingo halls and casinos.

The History of Gambling In Spain

The early days of gambling in Spain

Before 1977, the Franco regime had banned all gambling activities except sports pools, sweepstakes, and the national lottery. Gambling was permitted after Franco's death in 1975, including slot machines, casinos, and bingo. The regional government controlled online betting and gambling venues before their official regulation in 2006. The growth of online betting over the years necessitated the establishment of the Spanish Gambling Act in May 2011 to streamline the country's gambling landscape. Dog and horse racing games, online gambling, bullfighting, bingo, lottery games, and poker are the favorite gambling activities in Spain.

The state and regional authorities are sanctioned by Spanish law to control the country's gambling activities. The provincial authorities regulate gambling activities offered in one region in the country while the state authorities oversee gambling activities in two or more areas. However, online casino in Spain is regulated by both the state and regional authorities. The General Directorate for the Regulation of Gambling activities is a distinctive authority that monitors, controls, and standardizes gambling taxes. As previously mentioned, the Gambling Act sets the overall regulations for all activities regarding gambling in the country. The Gambling act controls gambling through the internet, the media, and interactive mass communications. The Act also conducts certain activities such as funding, advertising, and promoting gambling activities.

Online betting in Spain

The Spanish government established the ratification and regulation of online betting in 2002. However, exchange betting and online slots were barred before the creation of the gambling act. The Spanish Gambling Act of 2011 established a stable framework for licensing and controlling online casino operators in Spain. Since the implementation of the law, over 70 online gambling operators have been certified. Consequently, over a million players started online betting within Spain's online casino market by the end of 2012. Current statistics have revealed that over 50% of gamblers who use online services and activities conduct sports betting.

The Gambling Act provides players with the chance to assess the core betting regulations and adhere to policies in their relevant regions. Also, the Spanish Gambling Authority is strict on online slots and online betting, as they are a significant contributor to the country's economy. Gamblers in Spain are provided with limited online casino choices, but the best operators still welcome them in the world onto their site. In the future, restrictive licensing will eventually relax as taxes increase to open doors for a more diverse market.

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AUTHOREddy Cheung

I remember the first time I saw Kai Tak, Hong Kong's gambling city, I thought I was in a fairy tale. All the lights blinking, the music and the monumental buildings, what 9-year-old wouldn’t think they’ve come to a magical place? It was my father who brought me, dragging me along and when inside I was hit by the smell of frying duck. As soon as I hit 21 I returned to Kai Tak, A bit nervous to see if my mind had embellished the memory, but it hadn’t. Kai Tak was still a magical place. I decided I wanted to spend as much time as I could at this place, so I did. For the next coming years I lived and breathed Kai Tak. Now I am married with kids, and they have become a part of my life too. That’s why I started exploring online casinos to create a better work-life balance and I couldn’t be happier!

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