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Betting in Spain

Published on: 08/08/2016

Spain is a country renowned for its love of gambling. In fact, Spain is ranked alongside Italy as one of Europe’s top countries for wagering. The Spanish people gamble twice as much as the British, and spend ten times more on betting than they do on insurance.

The Spanish government has never opposed gambling activity and its citizens have always enjoyed wagering, illegal or otherwise. Up until the 1970s, lotteries were the main gambling activity until other forms of gambling became officially legalised. In 2008, Spain formed 17 regions, each with their own authority and control over gambling licensing. As a result, the gambling industry flourished and an influx of new casinos followed.

To date, at least 130 casinos and games venues can be found throughout Spain including the Casino Gran Madrid located in Torrelodones and the Casino de Barcelona. The latter features over 250 slot machines and 50 poker and table games. Spain has seven hipódromos (horseracing tracks) and two cruise ship casinos - one located at the Palma de Mallorca and the other in Barcelona. The minimum age that a person can gamble in Spain is 18 years.

In the Basque region, Jai Alai Stadiums can be found, while bullrings remain popular throughout Spain. It is not possible to bets on these sports through bookies, but bets can be placed on site. Bingo used to be enjoyed but became less popular when the new non-smoking laws were passed in 2005.

For many years, sports betting was under state regulation. Gambling opportunities were limited to lottery-type pools rather than fixed odds or pari-mutuel betting. Spain’s first privately run bookie shop appeared in 2008.

Currently, each of Spain’s 17 regional authorities has the final say over how and where gambling shops can be established. Under licence, betting companies can open as many shops as they like within their region and also offer a wide range of sports betting wagering - however, religion and politics are ruled out.

Internet wagering on sports is not so prolific in Spain and no licenses have been granted as yet - however, the government has been discussing the possibility of opening up their gambling industry to internet gambling for some time. If and when the gambling laws are amended, it has been predicted that the county would benefit hugely and become a very successful betting market in Europe or even worldwide.

Currently, nearly 500 foreign sports gambling web sites welcome play from the Spanish citizens. Almost 100 betting sites provide information using the Spanish language including Paddy Power, 888 Sport, Unibet, Bet365 and Ladbrokes. Withdrawals and deposits are possible through various eWallets and also via Visa Credit and MasterCard.