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Spain’s La Rioja Region Opens Doors to Sports Betting

6th October 2009 9:29 am GMT

As part of a wider overhaul of gaming and bingo regulations, the Spanish autonomous region of La Rioja has lifted its ban on sports betting outside of sporting venues, paving the way for the establishment of betting shops in the region.

La Rioja becomes only the third autonomous region of Spain after Madrid and the Basque country to authorise betting shops. The change to the regions gambling law was made late last week with the approval of two decrees by the regional government aimed at bringing the regions regulations in line with the needs of residents.

"The objective is to harmonise the economic activity of companies in the sector with individuals personal freedoms to participate in games of chance, taking into account the current economic situation and the respect that these establishments should have for the ban on access for minors and the protection of vulnerable social groups," said Government spokesman, Emilio del Río.

The decree amends existing legislation, by "repealing the ban on sports betting outside of sports venues, through telephone or computer networks, until the passage of state legislation".

Other changes to the regions gaming laws include limiting the number of bingo halls to a maximum of four, with a fifth possible only as part of a casino, and revising gaming hall regulations to ensure a distance of at least 200 meters between facilities in order to ensure their commercial viability.

Gaming Intelligence will publish further details of the La Rioja decrees when they become available.

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