Spain Loses Its Third Biggest Poker Site

Spain Loses Its Third Biggest Poker SiteSince Spain regulated online poker in 2011, the market has come to be dominated by and 888poker which between them account for around 90% of the country’s cash game players. The next three biggest operators subsequently attract less than 10% of the remaining ring game traffic, namely partypoker Spain, International Spain, and iPoker Spain, with the latter having just closed its Casino Gran Madrid skin, the third biggest poker portal in the country.
Needless to say, the Spanish online poker market is far from welcoming for operators who have to shell out money on a license, as well as paying a particularly exorbitant 25% tax rate on their gross gaming revenues. This in turn has lead poker sites to charge players a higher level of rake, which in Spain is currently between 20% and 40% higher than their counterparts.
Combined with limited bonuses and promotions, and a 20% tax rate on a player’s net poker winnings, it is not difficult to see why Casino Gran Madrid decided to pull the plug on its website, citing Spain’s extremely “hostile environment.” In a sideways swipe at the restrictive nature of the industry and licensing regime, the casino also said it hoped to possibly reenter the market when it had “a more attractive offering” for its players.
“Poker at the Casino Gran Madrid does not stop,” explained a casino spokesperson. “You will continue to have the best tournaments and live cash games in Casino Gran Madrid, Torrelodones. Furthermore, when online poker returns to our catalogue of games, something we do not doubt will occur, our players will be the first to know.”
As well as a catalog of errors when setting up its regulated poker industry, one of Spain’s biggest mistakes was the decision to keep the country’s players separate from those of other countries, unlike the progressive stance taken by the UK. This lack of liquidity has also resulted in around 43% of online gamblers playing on illegal sites, and since 2011 the size of Spain’s regulated poker market has halved.

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