The draft for Spain’s upcoming online poker regulation, expected to be in effect by the end of the year, has been significantly liberalized after a successful campaign by the Spanish online poker community.
As reported by pokerfuse in July, the initial drafts of the Spanish iGaming regulation called for heavy restrictions for online poker, including a maximum buy-in of 30 big blinds (BB), heavily restrictive deposit limits, a prohibition on certain poker games, and a forced daily stop-loss of 75% of a player’s account.
However, after a successful campaign by the Spanish online poker community to register its complaints, the Spanish Treasury Department (MEH) has released a new draft that addresses many of the concerns.
Perhaps most significantly, the rather arbitrary restriction of a 30BB cap has been raised to 100BB, permitting all but deep-stacked tables. The maximum big blind is maintained at €10, allowing full-stacked NL1000 games to run. Maximum tournament buyin is set to €250.
More poker games will now be permitted. Alongside Hold’em, Omaha and Stud, draw games are now explicitly defined and allowed, and an additional clause in the document now opens the door for Razz and other lowball games.
Some of the most controversial inclusions in the original draft were the daily, weekly and monthly deposit restrictions – €600, €1500 and €2000 respectively – which all but prohibit mid- or high-stakes action. In the latest draft this clause has now been removed, and in its place these limits are to be decided by the National Gaming Commission (CNJ). A companion document suggests the monthly limit will be raised to €3000, but the daily and weekly restrictions will remain. However, increases to deposit amounts may be considered on a player-by-player basis.
The changes have been well-received by the Spanish players. Poker-Red – one of Spain’s largest online communities who petitioned the MEH to liberalize the draft – welcomed the changes, stating that it was satisfied with many of the corrections in the draft and that – although the changes to deposit limits cannot yet be considered good news – it is a “step in the right direction” that leaves the door open for increases to the limits in the future.
However, one aspect that has not been changed is the proposed segregation of the international player pool. Although players outside of Spain will be welcome to play, all sites must run separate dot.es poker rooms, hosted and regulated inside the country.