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Spanish gaming regulator’s departure sparks concerns

15th March 2012 7:56 am GMT

The deputy director general of Spain’s National Gaming Commission, Juan Carlos Alfonso, has resigned, at a time when the future of the Commission itself is in question.

Alfonso was credited with driving the re-regulation of the Spanish gaming market,  earning plaudits from the online gaming community and recognition as one of Gaming Intelligence’s Hot 50 for his contribution to the new Spanish gaming act.

His departure further complicates an already confusing situation in Spain where the approval of online gaming licences has been delayed and the future of the National Gaming Commission called into question.

As first reported by Gaming Intelligence in January, Spain’s deputy prime minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, has launched a review of the Gaming Commission as part of a proposal to reform the countries regulatory bodies, which increased substantially in number under the previous socialist government.

One of the options under consideration is to abolish the National Gaming Commission and consolidate regulatory powers under the Directorate of Gaming Regulation, a department of the Ministry of Finance.

One of the first acts of the new government was to appoint Enrique Alejo Gonzalez, Spain’s former commercial attaché to Ecuador and the United States, as director-general of the Directorate of Gaming Regulation.

Gonzalez recently dismissed as speculation reports that 80 per cent of online gaming licence applicants had received ‘pre-approval’ from the Gaming Commission, as well as rumours that licences are to be issued in the next few weeks.

According to local sources, rapid progress is being made towards licensing but it remains unclear whether licences will be issued much sooner than the June 30th deadline and a request for comment from the Ministry of Finance was unanswered at the time of going to press. The government has also yet to finalise secondary regulation concerning gambling advertising.

However, the country’s online gaming operators association JDigital remains confident that the licensing process is on schedule.

JDigital president Sacha Michaud said yesterday that Alfonso’s departure would not impact the process, predicting that the first licences will still be issued in the coming weeks.

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