Sports betting in Spain has been legal for more than forty years, although regulated online gambling has only been around since 2011.
Here, we look at the gambling laws for betting in Spain and give punters a bit of information regarding popular bookmakers in the country and the top football competitions to have a punt on.
Spanish Betting Laws
Gambling in Spain was a criminal act until 1977 and, since then, has been regulated regionally by each of the seventeen autonomous regions. That is still the case today, but the Spanish Gambling Act of 2011 changed the future of sports betting in Spain for everyone.
While each region still regulates regional gambling, online gambling transcends any regional boundaries and so required a new law to control it. The Spanish Gambling Act was brought in to harmonise the regulation of online gambling within the country as a whole.
With regards sports betting, the 2011 act allows all fixed odds betting, pool betting, and exchange betting for all sports. It also regulates raffles and other competitions.
However, it does not regulate in-play sports betting. So, essentially, in-play or live betting is not allowed online in Spain. Some regional regulations allow it, but the Spanish Gambling Act does not.
The laws of this act are upheld by Juego Seguro, the directorate general for the regulation of gambling within Spain. All online betting operators must apply for a licence from Juego Seguro for each gambling service they provide. So, they would require three different licences if they offered betting, casino, and poker on their site.
Furthermore, they must also operate with a .es web domain.
At least fifty operators who didn’t abide by this law have voluntarily shut down and legal proceedings were brought against any that didn’t shut down of their own accord.
All people wishing to gamble online in Spain must register for an account with a site using a .es domain and is licenced with Juego Seguro. They must then verify themselves using an accepted form of identification.
Punters in Spain can be taxed on their winnings, with 20% being taxed on winnings over €2,500. However, they can also deduct losses from tax paid on any winnings in the same year.
Popular Local Bookies
Well known sites, such as 888 Sport and Betfair, operate successful online operations in Spain and are extremely popular sites. One of the most popular betting companies in Spain, which British nationals will be more unaware of is Juegging.
The trademark of Banegras Union, SA, Juegging is licenced in Spain to operate sports betting terminals in Valenciana and Madrid. They also offer online sports betting services, as well as a casino and slots.
They have two off-shoot companies for each region in which they operate. Banegras and Valencian sports betting (ADV), which was formed in 2011, and Sports Betting Madrilenas (ADM), which started out in 2014.
Another popular Spanish site which offers sports betting services, as well as casino and slots, is Luckia.es.
Local Football Competitions in Spain
The main football competition in Spain is La Liga, the top division of Spanish league football and one that attracts hundreds of thousands of fans each week.
Teams such as Barcelona and Real Madrid are among the richest and most successful football teams in the world, with squads full of world-class players. In fact, the last nine players to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or award have played for one of these teams, with Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid winning it four times and Lionel Messi of Barcelona winning five.
Because of this, La Liga attracts fans of all different nationalities who travel from all over the world to see their favourite players play.
The Copa Del Rey is the biggest cup competition in Spanish football and the winner of that each season meets the league champions in the Supercopa de Espana.
European football competitions are extremely popular in Spain as well, with Spanish teams winning the Champions League in six of the last nine seasons and the Europa League in five of the last eight seasons.
Spanish football is atop the world with regards success and popularity, and that is only increasing.