An extension has been granted that permits unlicensed poker rooms to continue to operate in Spain for up to six months of 2012. Spanish players can continue playing on international sites until June 30, or until the first licenses are issued.
In a last minute announcement in the Official State Gazette (BOE), the existing moratorium on online gaming will be extended into the New Year to allow more time to grant licenses. Online operators can continue to offer services to Spanish residents until the first licenses are given out – which may be any time from January until June.
The extension was expected as the licensing process has apparently stalled. The Gaming Law introduced in February 2011 calls for the adoption of a licensing system to regulate online gaming by January 2012, at which point unlicensed operators would not longer be permitted to offer online gaming in Spain.
Regulations were drafted and heavily revised, and up to 50 operators are thought to have applied for a license in December – including one last-minute surprise. The first licenses were expected to be announced on December 20, but the date came and went. No official list of applicants has been published and no licenses issued. It is thought that at least PokerStars.es and PartyPoker.es are ready to open, but with no licenses granted the sites still hold coming-soon pages.