Online Casino Licence in Spain
The Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ) is a regulatory body that issues online casino licences in Spain. They are guided by Law 13/2011 that was passed on the 27th of May 2011. This Law was originally titled “Game Regulation” and has now been changed to “Control of the Game” (Spanish Gambling Act).
The Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling in Spain (DGOJ) issues two types of licences:
- General - permits betting, contests and other gambling activities
- Special - permits a specific type of online game and can only be obtained if you already hold a General Licence
After receiving a licence application the DGOJ has 6 months to approve or reject it. If successful the DGOJ will issue the applicant a General Licence that is valid for 10 years with the possibility of renewing it for an additional 10 years.
A Special Licence allows the holder to organise all types of regulated games included in the General Licence. It is valid for 1 year and can be extended for an additional 5 years.
The DGOJ is responsible for granting licences in accordance with the current rules and legislation. If a General Licence is cancelled or removed any associated Special Licences will also be cancelled.
Licensees need to follow the principles of advertising, competition, transparency, equality, objectivity and non-discrimination as published in the Official State Newpaper. (El País)
The operation of lotteries is a state monopoly. Licences have only been granted to two operators: Sociedad Estatal de Loterías y Apuestas del Estado (S.M.E.) and Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles (ONCE).
The General Directorate for the Regulation of Gambling in Spain comes under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and is subordinate to the General Secretariat for Consumers and Gambling.
The regulator has the following powers:
- Responsible for performing the functions of regulation, authorisation, supervision, coordination, and, if necessary, authorisation of gambling activities, control and supervision over it.
- Performs the functions provided for by Article 66 of Law 40/2015 of the 1st of October 2015, within the framework of its powers and in accordance with the provisions of Law No. 10 of Law 3/2013 of the 4th of June 2013. This law created the National Commission on Markets and Competition. Its functions:
- issuing licences for random play activities, conditions and types of entertainment at the district level
- making proposals and analyzing the rules related to gambling activities at the state level
- inspection of gambling activities and technical systems at the state level
- initiation of cases and sanctions procedures on illegal gambling activities
- processing applications for a Spanish licence
- administrative procedures in relation to outlets of the State Lottery
- institutional relations with other bodies or institutions of the General Government, Autonomous Communities and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla in the field of gambling regulation
- control over the fulfillment of social and economic obligations by state and private organisations in the field of gambling business
- provision of guarantees related to general gambling licences
- management of material resources and infrastructures related to electronic surveillance systems for operators, relationships with participants, operators and other state administrations
- prosecution for illegal gambling activities carried out in the state and outside of Spain, but aimed at its territory
- requesting information from any payment service provider
- determination of technical and functional requirements for games
- promotion and control of the mechanisms of relationships between participants and gambling operators
- protecting the interests of participants, including the processing of their complaints
- supervision of mechanisms and systems for organising advertising activities
- management of gambling registers
The regulator consists of subdirectories:
- General Unit for the Regulation of Gambling, which carries out the above functions.
- General subordinate department for the control of gambling.
Subdirectories are assigned to the General Directorate for the Regulation of Gambling, the National Commission on Sports Manipulation and Fraud, and the Advisory Council for Responsible Gambling.
To obtain a licence in Spain, the operator must:
- Ensure the safety of games, transparency of draws and calculate prize payments
- Reduce the risk of potential harm to society and fight against illegal gambling and criminal activity
- Cooperate actively with the authorities responsible for the prevention of money laundering
Operators in Spain must comply with the legal and technical requirements as established by law in order to guarantee safe gaming and protect users.
Licensed Casinos Must:
- Establish clear and transparent rules for the game
- Ensure transparency of games (no fraud)
- Ensure the security of deposits, payments and fees
- Identify participants (verify identity and age)
The website of jugarbien contains a description of responsible and safe gambling.
Licences issued by the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling in Spain allow you to open online casinos in Spain. Cross-approval is required if you want to operate your business internationally.
Law 13/2011 establishes the Tax on Gambling Activities (Impuesto de Actividades de Juego - IAJ) which is 20% of stakes or GGR (Net Profit) which is defined as the total amount wagered plus any other income that would be directly derived from the organisation or operation of the game, less the prizes paid out to players.
An amendment to this law establishes that gaming and gambling operators who have their tax residence in Cueta or Melilla and are actually located/based in these territories will be taxed at 10% GGR instead of 20% GGR.
The IAJ must be filed and paid quarterly within a month from the end of every quarter. Gambling activities are exempt for VAT.
How to get an Online Casino Licence in Spain
A company wishing to apply for an Online Casino Licence in Spain must meet the requirements of a legal, economic and financial nature and prove the security and reliability of software. They must also comply with the following standards:
- Public limited company or limited liability company headquartered in a member state of the European Economic Area.
- Minimum total and paid-in share capital of €100,000 for the application for a General Licence for betting and other games and €60,000 for horse racing.
- Registration in Spain, even foreign companies must be on the register.
- Registration in the Special Applicants Section of the General Register of Gambling Licences.
You need to provide:
- reports on the company's solvency
- annual reports from the Commercial Register
- report on the total turnover of the company for the last three years
- description and confirmation of the source of own and third-party financial resources
- description of the technical side of the software
- confirmation of the professional experience of Company Managers
- information on the average annual number of personnel over the last three years
- a statement indicating the technical systems, units and machines for which the licence is requested
- description of the server, technical departments and measures that will be used to ensure the quality of software and user safety
The DGOJ may require the applicant to provide other documents.
The Spanish Gambling Act requirements for a licensee:
- Creation of a site with domain name .es
- Redirecting Spanish users from a cross-licensed site to a resource with a .es domain
- Approval of technical regulations
- Identification of participants
- Monitoring prohibitions on participation (check by RGIAJ)
- Using random number generators
- Security of technical gambling systems
- Tracking and registering game operations
Data from the internal monitoring system for gambling operations and financial transactions must be stored on Spanish servers.
The final decision to grant a licence from the DGOJ will take a maximum of 6 months after the date of the application. If the applicant has not been contacted before that time, it is felt that the decision will be positive.
By accessing illegal sites, users can lose their funds, reveal personal data, be exposed to fraud and even unknowingly cooperate with criminal organisations.
An organisation that offers gambling services without a Spanish Licence will be punished with:
- a fine of up to 50 million euros
- suspension from the gambling market for up to four years
A Criminal Penalty can also be applied to the Director of the Company.
The Directorate General states that illegal gambling establishments need to be reported to the Denuncias y Reclamaciones division.