Spain’s Regulation of Online Gambling

Spain is well-known for its love of the sport of football, but does that same enthusiasm extend to gambling? How does the country deal with the regulation of virtual casinos? This article examines the legal landscape of online gambling in Spain, discussing the ways in which the country’s traditional gambling laws have informed its current framework.

Casino Games and Their Regulatory Status

The Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) is responsible for overseeing all forms of gambling in Spain, including both sports betting and casino gaming. This law was passed in 2012. In order to provide their services, operators are need to get one of the different licenses that are available.


The 17 Spanish autonomous areas are empowered by law to establish their own policies on traditional land-based casino gaming. Therefore, the legitimacy of gambling varies by location; yet, numerous places have land-based casinos where gamblers can enjoy a variety of games.


Due to the widespread nature of online gambling networks, national governments must make policy decisions about the legality of online casino games.


With a very stringent set of laws licensees must follow in order to provide their games to players in Spain, the country has a reputation for being on the cutting edge of online gambling regulation. Companies offering online gambling to Spanish customers must be based in Spain and hold a license that allows them to legally operate in the European Union.


It’s interesting to note that crypto casino operations are now illegal in Spain.



The 17 autonomous communities in Spain have different policies on the legality of gambling, hence the availability of brick-and-mortar poker rooms varies. In jurisdictions where it is legal, poker may be played at brick-and-mortar casinos alongside other games.


Poker can be offered online by businesses with a category 2 general gaming license or a category 13 special gaming license. Operators with valid licenses are obligated to restrict access to their games to Spanish citizens alone.


Bingo As with other forms of offline gambling in Spain, the country’s 17 regions each define their own stance on the legality of the game, with several permitting it to be offered at a variety of bingo halls.


Bingo gambling sites that accept real money players from Spain must obtain either a category 2 general license or a category 14 singular license. The government has been quite explicit that operators must use IP geo-location techniques to restrict access to the games to anyone physically located in Spain.



In Spain, lottery tickets can only be sold by the state-run Sociedad Estatal Loteras y Apuestas del Estado (SELAE) or the national lottery organization, Organización Nacional de Ciegos Espaoles (ONCE).


This monopoly status means that no other companies or organizations in the country can legally run lotteries. This includes websites that allow you to wager on the results of lottery games played in your country, which is against the law.


Playing lottery games for real money online is therefore illegal in Spain, regardless of whether the site in question is affiliated with the ONCE or SELAE.


Participatory Video Games

Gambling is defined as “any activity that involves risking sums of money or economically assessable objects on future and uncertain results that depend to some degree on chance, and that grant prizes in cash or in kind” under Spanish Law No. 13/2011 (the Gambling Act).


In order for an action to be considered gambling, it must contain elements of risk, chance, and a potential payoff.


Therefore, many games played in social settings that lack one or more of these components cannot be considered gambling and are instead categorized as gaming activity and are not subject to gambling legislation in Spain.

Legalized Sports Betting in Spain


The enormous popularity of sports betting in Spain can be attributed in part to the country’s passion for the sport of football, which is regulated by the government.


Many betting shops, often in partnership with established British sports betting companies like William Hill, sprung up rapidly around 2008, making sports betting a popular pastime all over the country. In Spain, sports betting companies frequently advertise by sponsoring La Liga teams.


In order to legally offer sports betting to residents of Spain, operators must hold a valid license for either (1) fixed-odds sports betting, (2) mutual sports betting, (4) exchange betting, (5) fixed-odds horse racing betting, or (6) mutual horse racing betting.


Maximum Gambling Age Set at 21

Spain’s legal gambling age of 18 is in line with those of the best European online casinos. This is true for both physical gambling establishments like casinos and sportsbooks and virtual ones like poker rooms and bingo halls.


In accordance with Spain’s gambling tax regulation, internet gambling providers must pay a range of taxes on betting revenue at rates that vary by game type.


Lottery winners who bring in more than €40,000 are subject to a 20 percent tax. Winnings from any other form of gambling are considered taxable income and must be reported each year. This is then taxed at the standard rate, although any losses incurred while gambling can be used to reduce the taxable total.


The Evolution of Spain’s Gambling Laws

Sports betting, both online and in specialized shops, have been legal in Spain since the country’s first gambling legislation were enacted in 2006. Many established British bookmakers teamed up with established Spanish businesses to offer new regulated facilities for sports betting beginning in early 2008.


The Spanish government requested revisions to current rules in 2011 with the resulting Spanish Gambling Act being passed in 2012. The passage of this law paved the way for stricter regulation.


Operators can apply for licenses on a tender basis through the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ), the General Directorate for the Regulation of Gaming Activities; however, this has only happened three times so far (in November 2011 for one month, October 2014 for one month, and December 2017 for one year).


Single-use licenses are good for three or five years, whereas general licenses are valid for ten.

The Basics


Due to the country’s love of the activity, especially when it comes to football, internet gambling is legal in Spain. Therefore, most forms of betting and gaming are legal in Spain, both offline and online, under the country’s stringent but nearly all-inclusive gambling legislation.


Spain is a popular destination for those interested in partaking in either sports betting or casino gaming, with the latter activity being regulated by the regional governments of the country’s seventeen autonomous communities while the former is left to the national government.


Players in Spain can only use services from legitimate companies, and the Spanish government is cracking down on those that don’t have the proper licenses by fining them heavily.


Lotteries are the only event that must adhere to stricter regulations. The government has authorized only two ticket sellers, ONCE and SELAE, to offer lottery tickets to the general public. Lottery ticket sales and wagering on the results of lotteries by online gambling organizations are prohibited in Spain.