Microgaming Poker Rooms Pull Out of Spain

Poker rooms on the Microgaming Network are contacting Spanish customers to inform them that they can no longer play online poker on the network, pokerfuse has learned. The decision is effective from midnight tonight.

A customer representative from NordicBet, a notable online gaming brand that offers poker on Microgaming, confirmed with pokerfuse that Spanish players’ poker balances will be transitioned to their main betting accounts today.

The rep confirmed that the decision came from the network, with Microgaming choosing to pull skins out of the Spanish market immediately due to the new Spanish Gambling Act 2011 that requires all operators to be licensed and regulated in Spain.

The first licenses were expected to be issued at the end of 2011, however the process was delayed and the moratorium was extended into 2012, allowing unlicensed operators to temporarily continue to serve Spanish customers.

The moratorium is only extended until June 2012, and the first licenses are expected to be issued at least one month prior to the deadline. An unconfirmed report from EGR Magazine today indicates that licenses will be issued by the end of March. PokerStars and PartyPoker are understood to already be conforming to license requirements, paying tax, and are ready to roll out their clients.

At least 40 other poker rooms are thought to have applied, one of which is expected to be Ladbrokes, the largest betting company in the UK and largest bookmaker in the world. Ladbrokes uses Microgaming software and operates a hybrid poker network that shares some tables with the Microgaming player pool and has other tables exclusive to Ladbrokes customers. The company signed a deal with Microgaming to continue using its software in the new Danish and Spanish markets, and its ladbrokes.dk operation is already up and running under SKAT license.