The Spanish authorities announced yesterday their intention to take some additional time before approving new games and, particularly, the long time waited online slots and exchange betting. This decision has been based –pursuant to the explanations given yesterday by Mr. Alejo, the Spanish General Director of Gambling - on the need to ensure that the introduction of these new games does not trigger new risks for the players and for the regulated market in general.
In order to take a more informed decision, Mr. Alejo announced that the Spanish regulator will be launching a new call for public comments in regards of the approval of new games, so that they can obtain a clearer view on the potential consequences deriving from the approval of new games. Nonetheless, no specific timing was mentioned in regards of such a call for comments.
This announcement supposes quite a pour of cold water on the upmost expectations that the industry was putting in these approvals, given the importance of said games vis-à-vis the development of a competitive offer of regulated games in Spain.
On the other hand, the Spanish authorities did also mention that they consider that the size of the Spanish market is adequate and, consequently, they do not feel quite attracted to open it in the short term to new operators. Pursuant to the provisions of the Spanish Gambling Act, such an opening should take place on May 2013, but – bearing in mind yesterday’s statements - it is highly probable that any such opening is going to be delayed at least for some additional months.