02/12/2012 : Stan James poker exec explains what's happening
Reports late last week that Microgaming Poker Network had lowered the boom on Spanish players in compliance with that country's new internet poker regulatory regime were clarified over the weekend by Richard Cunningham, head of poker at Stan James.com.
Cunningham explained to the information website PokerUpdate that all Microgaming operators who are currently applying for a Spanish licence will be permitted to continue accepting Spanish traffic.
The logical implication to draw from that is that MGS licensees who have not applied for Spanish licensing will be shutting down their Spanish players.
"The Microgaming Network has been asked by the Spanish regulatory authority to deny access to customers who are registered with skins who have not applied for a license to operate in Spain," Cunningham explained to PokerUpdate.
"Players registered at Stan James and new players wishing to join from Spain are more than welcome."
It is not known which MGS licensees have applied for Spanish licenses (clearly Stan James is among them), but other major companies outside the MGS ambit that have made application include PokerStars and PartyPoker.
Various media reports suggest that the Spanish authorities are currently mulling over around 40 applications and that Ladbrokes may also be in the running; there are reports that the company signed a deal with Microgaming to continue using its poker software in the Danish and Spanish markets.
It is also unknown why earlier reports suggested that Microgaming was pulling out of the Spanish market entirely.
The independent monitoring site Pokerscout speculates that MGS licensee NordicBet, which apparently released the information, may have been trying to prevent its competitors from stealing traffic during the Spanish regulatory transition.
Late last week a spokesperson for NordicBet reportedly told the Pokerfuse information website that Spanish players’ accounts would be closed, with balances transferred to the company's main betting accounts. The spokesperson allegedly said that the decision to block Spanish players came from Microgaming Poker Network.
Due to delays in the implementation of the new Spanish licensing regulations a moratorium on prosecutions exists until June 2012. This allows unlicensed operators to temporarily continue to serve Spanish customers until the licensing program is in place and operating.
Microgaming has not yet issued a statement on the issue, and when InfoPowa went to press Sunday a response was still awaited.