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A Closer Look At Online Poker In Spain

The Evolution Of The Game Throughout The Years


Spain has the most diverse online poker industry in the whole world. In 2020, the industry brought in a total of €76.5 million in revenue realized from online poker competitions or tournaments. An additional €34 million came from playing poker online for cash. These benefits arise from the “Spanish Segregated Poker Market” and the newest legislation “, Poker Liquidity Sharing Deal” with other European countries.

The popularity and recognition online poker enjoy today arises from the earliest gambling legislation. Spain gambling industry took shape back in 1977. The government went ahead and legalized all “Games of Chances and Skill” in 1981. As a result, the industry has long developed and diversified into the most complex and exhilarating for Spanish players. It is a fact evidenced by the Estrellas Poker Tour designed for poker players in Spain.

Online Poker Legislation Journey

Spain enjoys a fascinating legislation journey after gambling became legal in 1977. However, online poker became legal after the ruling authorities passed the Gambling Act of 2011. “Thinking it was freedom and a time to enjoy and partake in online poker, it came as a surprise to many to notice that only Spanish players could access the sites. No other international players could compete against Spanish players from for example It was fun and exciting at first, but it would become monotonous later,” says one of the avid poker players in the country. The main reason is that the rules outlined in the act created a closed or segregated poker market!

In 2017, the “Poker Liquidity Sharing Deal” became a reality amongst major European countries, offering poker as a game of chance and skill. These include Italy, France and Portugal. Liquidity Sharing meant that players from either of these countries play against each other on the same platform and vie for the same benefits of winnings offered across an online site. Plus, if not a citizen in Spain, you can still play Spanish poker by logging into websites with the country’s prefix .es at the end! The deal retains the segregation and insulation on the poker market in Spain and also provides international tournaments for its citizens.

Spanish laws on poker are “Customer-friendly” or “Company-friendly.” The Spanish Gambling Act of 2011 stipulates that the “government will only place a tax of 15% of the gross profits realized by the establishment. It takes into account potential losses and casino expenses before adding tax! Players are also liable and must pay tax for individual winnings from said establishments! The change in the laws occurred in the execution of the gambling act, abolishing the previous practice where the government would tax revenue generated, a practice still common in France and other countries in the world! As a result, Spanish poker players receive better odds and winnings, as casinos only have to pay taxes on profits generated.

Poker Popularity In Spain

Even though Spaniards adore football, online poker is about to overthrow the sport and take its place. Spain operates over 40 poker rooms in the country alone. The number might seem small to you, but compared to the five rooms present in Portugal, one can see the impact and popularity of the game in the country. At the same time, the country hosts the European Poker Tour each year, with the tour’s stop being Barcelona. The tour is the largest poker tournament series globally, with participants from all over Europe and beyond.

The WSOP tournaments are a must-mention in this section. The Spanish player Adrián Mateos owns three gold WSOP bracelets, one from 2013, 2016 and 2017. Other notable names include David Lopez, with over a million euros cashed under the same alias and Sergio Aido, who has made over 11 million euros playing live in poker tournaments!

More comfort to players is the wide range of poker game offers available. The stakes are friendly, ranging from one euro to 100 euros on the NLHE. However, renting a private poker room can raise the stakes to over 1000 to 2000 euros for players willing to partake in a more serious game. Also, player game choices vary depending on cash stakes selected and dealers’ choices. A single day, one or two tournaments can take place indicated “Faster Gameplay”, “Lively Show”, and “Quality Wins!”

Future Of Online Poker In Spain

The only challenge online poker faces in the country are obtaining an operating gambling license. The conditions set forth by the law for a poker license are quite strict. In addition, online poker operators must submit the tax to the government. Even though it is a fair deal, it makes obtaining the license quite difficult. Plus, the government institutes tough penalties for defaulters. However, more than 43% of poker players in Spain access and play poker from illegal and unlicensed suppliers/providers.

The Spanish government faces a major challenge since players ignore set rules and play on illegal sites. However, one can expect full prosecution if caught! But, we hope that the government has a new plan to support players and reduce the number of accessing unlicensed sites.

Online poker in Spain has a bright, economical, and beneficial future for both players, providers, and the government!