After six months since entering the dot.es market, a number of igaming operators are preparing to return their licenses and withdraw from the country, eGamingReview has revealed.
Several operators with Spanish-facing platforms on the Ongame and Microgaming networks have "consulted with lawyers in order to instigate the process of rescinding their Spanish licences," the publication reported.
Goalwin and Paf Group offer a Spanish-facing poker product on the Ongame network, which was acquired by Amaya Gaming late last year, while Cirsa, Betsson, Ladbrokes, Win2Day all have poker brands on the Microgaming network.
It is unclear which of these operators will withdraw from the Spanish market. Goalwin and Paf, which announced plans to roll out a poker platform on the Microgaming network, may be the first to leave as traffic on the Ongame network continues to diminish.
"We have been assured there will be more partners joining Ongame so we will see who joins and what affect that has on liquidity," Herbert Paradis, Paf’s head of poker, told eGR. "We want a poker product in Spain but at some point you have to say ‘there is not going to be enough liquidity'."
PokerStars dominates the traffic rankings in Spain, benefiting from a boost in television and online marketing, as well as, of course, its position as the industry leader. THe company has a 65% share of the online poker market in Spain, followed by 888 with around 20%.
Spanish regulator Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) liberalized its igaming market in June 2012. More than 50 operators were granted 10-year licenses for poker, sports betting and casino games.
However, deposit limits and restrictions (€300 a day and €3,000 a month) and ring-fenced poker liquidity have caused concern and disappointment. Until the regulatory issues are addressed, the Spanish market will face contraction and license withdrawals similar to its French counterpart, where 888 recently returned its dot.fr license in December.