In the Spanish General Directorate of Gambling Regulation (“DGOJ”) Web Page  the DGOJ announces the content of the Resolution that establishes online poker shared international lequidity regime. It will soon be published in the Official Gazette.

The legal regime regarding the international liquidity of gambling activities within the Spanish territory can be found in the sub-article two of the Additional Provision number three of the Royal Decree 1614/2011. The general rule is that gambling must be among Spanish user registered players however, this provision stablishes an exception indicating that the gambling authority can authorize “international” liquidity in two situations: i) when a prior agreement on this issue between Spanish gambling authority and the competent authorities from other countries within the Economic European Area (“EEA”) take place (i.e. closed “international liquidity”; or ii) under exceptional justified circumstances (open international liquidity).

On July 6, 2017, the DGOJ and the gambling authorities of France, Italy and Portugal entered into an Agreement regarding shared liquidity for online Poker  (“the Agreement”), which enabled the DGOJ to authorize the operation of online Poker under  the exception of “international” liquidity through the publication of the Resolution in which a liquidity regime different from the participation of the users under Spanish registration for online Poker is authorized and some resolutions on gambling activities regulated in Law 13/2001, 27 May, of gambling are amended (“ the Resolution”).

Hereafter, we review the consequences of this Resolution:

First

Gambling operators who apply for or already have[1] an online poker license may offer it within a context of “international” liquidity, prior fulfilment of the following requirements:

  1. To have a certified technical gambling system to offer the game in an international liquidity context.
  2. The involved operators, including those who manage the gambling platform and those who are adhered to it, must give prior and express communication to the DGOJ regarding the intended date to implement the game within international liquidity.
  3. The gambling technical system must guarantee that the users under Spanish registration will only share liquidity with users under registration from countries of the EEA, whose gaming authorities have previously subscribed the Agreement[2].
  4. The operators must guarantee that, through the amendment of the game rules and pertinent actions, users under Spanish registration will have a previous, appropriate and sufficient knowledge of the new context of the game.
  5. The DGOJ may give instructions to operators in order to guarantee an efficient supervision and control of the developed international liquidity context.

[1] From the point of view of the potential administrative burdens, the new Resolution implies a new burden for those operators, who already have a license to operate Poker, because they will have to apply for a certification of their technical gambling systems, since these changes are considered significant.

[2] The international liquidity will exclusively be developed between countries of the EEA with similar regulations regarding online gambling, personal data protection and anti-money laundering and terrorism financing or fraud activities prevention.

Second

Both Resolution of 6 October 2014, approving the provision establishing the technical specifications on gambling, traceability and security that must be met by the technical systems of non-reserved games licensed under Law 13/2011, of 27 May, the Gambling Act and Resolution of 6 October 2014, approving the data form of the information monitoring system used in gambling operation registers are amended. The amendments affect: i) Definitions of Game offered within a context of international liquidity, International gambling manager and User under Spanish registration; ii) Specifications over time source of the Intern Control System; and iii) Technical and information obligations of the international gambling manager and the operator.

Special significance for the online gambling sector: In additional to the relevant consequences for the online poker sector, this Resolution opens the door to the possibility of having other types of games operate under an international liquidity context.

LOYRA ABOGADOS