04/27/2012 :  WILL SPANISH ONLINE GAMBLING BE GOOD TO GO IN MID-JUNE?
 
888 chief exec expresses doubts….
 
Spain's online gambling regulatory initiative does not seem to be hitting its stride yet, with some 59 licence applications still in the pipeline despite an original deadline for issue of April 2012.
 
Key staff changes and a significant workload have bedeviled the process, leading to regulatory chief Enrique Alejo declaring earlier this year that it was unlikely that licenses would be approved and issued until June 2012.
 
This week one senior industry exec expressed doubts that even this deadline would be met.
 
Speaking during a conference call following the release of his company's current results, 888 Poker  Holdings CEO Brian Mattingley revealed that he and a fellow executive from the company had travelled to Madrid recently to assess the current situation.
 
They came away somewhat disappointed, having found "…a little bit of confusion out there, so we are not sure when the market is going to open up."
 
On the positive side they were impressed by the reasonable and collegiate attitudes they found among the regulator's staff, Mattingley said, commenting that officials were genuinely helpful and prepared to listen to suggestions and ideas.
 
Nevertheless, Spanish officials continue to work toward the June target…it remains to be seen whether they will be able to meet it.
 
With several recent court actions in progress involving online groups keen to get into the market, and delays costing money for operators who have committed significant resources to their licensing applications and operational preparations, there is understandably frustration at the continuing delay, and Mattingley's assessment will do little to assuage that.
 
As an aside, Mattingley confirmed that 888 is working on German market possibilities through a Schleswig Holstein online gambling licence application. He said that the German market presented considerable possibilities for his company.