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Playtech Casino Gets Spanish License

By: Joe Valentino, Thursday May 26th 2011
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Casino Gran Madrid is the first operator to receive an online gambling license from the autonomous region of Madrid in Spain. Based on an existing agreement signed as far back as 2009, the Casino Gran Madrid online casino will be powered by the leading software provider Playtech. It will offer the entire range of Playtech online casino games such as blackjack, roulette and slots and also online poker. The player management system for the online casino will be provided by the Spanish solutions provider Media Tech.

Having taken decision to introduce regulated online gambling at some time in the future, Madrid had issued authorizations to existing land-based casinos and bingo halls in 2006 and 2007. The authorization would permit these operators to offer online betting, casino and bingo, but subject to the authorization being converted to a license under the law that would be eventually enacted. Casino Gran Madrid is the first land based casino to receive the license. The license was apparently signed on May 17, but the public announcement was delayed until local elections had taken place.

A spokesperson for Casino Gran Madrid confirmed that beta testing will take place over the next few weeks. This would imply that the Playtech powered casino could be ready to go online within the next month. The online casino will initially only accept players who are residents of Madrid aged 18 and over. Players who have been excluded from the registers of the land based units of Casino Gran Madrid will not be allowed to wager online. No name has as yet been announced for the online casino.

What is surprising is that license has been issued prior to the enactment of the proposed national online gambling law. The law was approved by the legislators in February 2011. It is expected to be published in the country's Official Gazette later this week. The draft will then have to be submitted to the European Commission for the statutory three-month standstill period set aside for review. This will allow Casino Gran Madrid to gain a foothold in the Spanish regulated market before licenses are issued at a national level. It has also been reported that the Casino Gran Madrid online casino will pay 10% tax on gross gaming revenue as against 25% currently proposed for poker and casino under the national draft.

Playtech has repeatedly stated that it is pursuing a policy of playing a lead role in markets that are opening up for regulation. It did so in Italy and it is doing so in Spain. The board of directors of Playtech is confident of the company's future. It is of the opinion that the current market price of the shares of the company does not reflect its true potential. Therefore Playtech will be buying back 10% of its own stock. This move should give confidence to all those who are partnering with Playtech, including players at Playtech online casinos.

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