Following months of delays, hurdles and last-minute complications, Spain is now finally ready to offer regulated online poker. 888poker, PokerStars and bwin.party are among the first operators to have received licenses.
Poker players in Spain can finally look forward to a new regulated market taking off this month.
This weekend, Spanish authorities handed out more than a dozen licenses to operators who were deemed qualified for offering online poker on .es domains. The list included a number of industry giants, including 888poker, PokerStars and bwin.party.
The handing out of the licenses follows a lengthy process, filled with hurdles and complications.
First, the rolling out of the new system was delayed for six months, and second, Spanish authorities further laid out a seemingly important obstacle as a series of heavy back-tax claims were sent out to applicants.
Finally, it emerged last week that operators will not be able to transfer player accounts and balances directly, but will have to ask customers to withdraw and redeposit if they wish a Spanish playing account on a .es domain.
Despite the complications, the new system now seems ready, and is scheduled to go live on June 5.
Among the first rooms to go on air will be PokerStars, the comany's spokesman Eric Hollreiser confirmed this weekend.
"We are happy to confirm that PokerStars was today granted a license to operate in Spain and we plan to launch www.pokerstars.es on June 5," Hollreiser said.
"As always, PokerStars is committed to providing players with a superior customer service, software and security. You can rest assured that your funds in this transition are totally safe and available. We will provide more details on the transition next week," he added.
Besides PokerStars, bwin.party and 888poker, Ladbrokes, Betfair, Codere, Cirsa, Jaxx, bet365 and Sportingbet have also confirmed to have received Spanish licenses.