Ladbrokes Applies for Spanish Licence
By James McKeown
UK based gambling operator Ladbrokes PLC, announced today that it has entered into a joint venture with Spanish company Cirsa Slot Corp, to develop a sports betting business for the Spanish market.

The venture will apply for the new betting licenses being offered in Madrid, where a decree was passed in December to regulate dedicated betting shops, betting kiosks — bars, arcades and bingo halls — and remote betting (telephone and Internet) for the first time.

Ladbrokes, which has recently applied for similar licences in Italy, confirmed that applications for the licenses, which initially last five years but are renewable, will be submitted to the Madrid regional government by mid-January.

Christopher Bell, Chief Executive of Ladbrokes plc commented, 'This represents another major step forward in our international aspirations. In December we opened our first shops in Italy and successfully tendered for new licences. Now we have formed a JV with a market leader in Spain that gives us access to a network of thousands of potential site operators.”

“As soon as regulation allows we are confident that the combination of Ladbrokes' vast experience and expertise in betting and the local knowledge and operational capability of Cirsa will build a strong business in Spain,' he added.

The joint venture will also seek to acquire betting licenses in other areas of Spain also considering regulation. According to Ladbrokes, the Spanish gambling market was worth around €29 billion ($37.7 billion) last year.

Pablo Alcalá, Director of Cirsa Slot reflected, 'Sports betting is set to become an increasingly mainstream activity in Spain and we believe that this Joint Venture builds on the strengths of both companies; Ladbrokes with over 100 years experience in betting and Cirsa with its massive presence in the Spanish market.'

Cirsa Slot accounts for 9 percent of the Spanish slot machine market, servicing over 15,000 food and beverage outlets with gaming areas and 90 arcades. The company is a division of Cirsa Corp.

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