Madrid Licensing Move to open Online Floodgates
By James Mc
A host of bookmakers and online gambling companies are expected to flock to the Spanish market following the decision by Madrid's regional government to regulate gaming through the introduction of licences.

The move comes in the wake of Italy's decision to regulate gaming, which prompted a flood of applications from UK bookmakers and online companies such as Ladbrokes, William Hill and Gala Coral, who are also expected to bid for licences in Madrid along with Sportingbet and PartyGaming in the online sector.

Madrid's regional government announced that it was allowing minimum €1 bets in games locations as well as telephone and online bets, covering sports and other competitions, as well as allowing internet bets on bingo and casino games.

The licences will last for five years and be renewable if the Madrid regulator's conditions are met. The announcement will also include strict regulations to prevent the participation of young and mentally ill people.

Regulation of the betting market by Italy and Madrid comes by sharp contrast to the attempts by other European countries to control and limit betting by banning online gaming and legalising onshore betting only for state monopolies.

Italy's new regulated market has opened up 17,000 licences to the private sector. There will be 7,000 new sports betting shops and 10,000 outlets for betting on horseracing.

Italy's legal betting market is worth €3.7bn (£2.5bn). All legal gaming, including the Italian lottery, pools, betting, bingo and machine gaming, is worth €28bn.

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