PokerStars, bwin.party, 888, Ladbrokes Confirm Spanish Online Poker Licenses
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Spain has begun to issue its first online gaming licenses today. Although no official list has been produced by the Spanish Gambling Commission (DGOJ), various public and private companies have confirmed receipt of licenses.
PokerStars confirmed it has received a license to operate poker in Spain. In a press statement issued to pokerfuse, it stated it “plans to launch PokerStars.es on June 5th. For now, Spanish players can continue to compete on www.pokerstars.com as normal and don’t need to take any action.”
The statement continues: “You can rest assured that your funds in this transition are totally safe and available. We will provide more details on the transition next week,” in apparent reference to the news yesterday of a new restriction that blocks sites from transitioning accounts from dot.com to dot.ES.
888 announced that it has received a license to offer online sports betting, bingo, casino games and poker. Its 888poker product, on an independent network, has reported record revenues in the last year and is currently ranked 4th internationally.
Also confirmed are bwin.party, who has received licenses to operate poker under both its bwin and PartyPoker brands. Party currently operates on its own network, whereas bwin still operates on the recently sold Ongame Network.
Spain will be a “key merger integration milestone for bwin.party,” according to the financial report, as the group plans to merge all products “on a new, technologically advanced and fully integrated gaming platform.” In practice, this likely means that a bwin.ES poker room will be on the same network was PartyPoker.ES. It has already announced a plan for a similar merger on its international platform to be undertaken this year.
The dot.ES poker rooms will not go live until June 5, following a request from operators to postpone the launch to a quieter time of the week. In a final twist, late yesterday—less than 24 hours before the first licenses were issued—a “clarification” was issued by the DGOJ that will prevent operators from transferring existing accounts over to the new platform.
LBapuestas, Ladbrokes’ brand in Spain, updated their homepage to confirm the receipt of its license. Ladbrokes signed a deal with software provider Microgaming to provide online gaming, including poker, in Spain.
Sportingbet also confirmed the receipt of its license, although it did not specify whether the license permits online poker. Sportingbet’s primary brand in Spain is sportsbook Miapuesta, which is currently offline following a legal battle and successful injunction brought by local gaming interests. According to Sportingbet, the licenses “negates part of the injunction” and the group plans to launch on Tuesday with everyone else. It also owns the famous Paradise Poker brand, now a skin on the GTECH G2/Boss Media Network, but Sportingbet did not specify whether it also plans to launch poker alongside sports betting.
Many others also are confirming their licenses, according to reports from official twitter accounts and from Spanish media, including: Paf (who have come to arrangement with Unibet to provide online poker to Unibet’s customers); JAXX; Poker Heaven; local B&M gaming interests of Codere, Cirsa and Egasa, even TV group Telecinco.
According to poker-red.com, at the time of publication 15 poker licenses have been issued so far.