One year since the first online gaming regulations were drafted, six months since the original deadline was missed, and after more than one last minute surprise later, regulated online gaming sites in Spain is finally live.
And, against all odds and hurdles, the process today was pretty smooth.
PokerStars.ES went live around 9am Spanish time. By 11am a client migration was in place for all players. Spanish accounts trying to log in to the dot.com site were prompted to switch to dot.ES, and were given the ability to transfer their balances and VIP points over to the new site. PartyPoker went one step further, and pushed out the update and balance transfers to Spanish players automatically.
These migrations come despite last minute “clarifications” from the Spanish Gambling Commission (DGOJ) that stated in no uncertain terms that existing accounts, with balances VIP statuses, and points could not be migrated to dot.ES. In a conference late this morning held by the Commission, Director General Enrique Alejo reiterated that “the previous announcement made it quite clear” that automatically transferring account balances was not possible, and that “those operators that have not complied are obviously getting off on the wrong foot in our new relationship.”
Under the new gaming regulation, stakes up to €5/10 are permitted, and most games can be spread. PokerStars has chosen to roll out stakes slowly, currently only offering up to €0.5/1, although all games but Badugi are available. Zoom is not present in the client, but there should be nothing in the Gaming Regulations that prevents it from being added at PokerStars’ discretion.
As expected, bwin.es has launched a poker room as a skin on PartyPoker, so the two sites share the same player pool. Internationally, bwin is still on the Ongame Network, although a migration to PartyPoker is expected soon.
Ongame was also successfully launched today, with two operators and four skins: Paf (who has struck a deal with Unibet to provide Spanish customers with online poker) and Goalwin, which is operating GoalWin.es, PokerLoco.es and PokerMambo.es. Two more skins are expected to open on Ongame soon.
Microgaming also has Spanish prescence today, under the brands LBapuestas (Ladbrokes Spanish gaming brand) and Spanish B&M operator CIRSA. Independent 888poker has also launched.
888 was another successful launch, although account migrations are not expected until tomorrow. So far, no word on Boss Media/GTECH G2 licenses, which may have been delayed until later in the week.