As mentioned in a previous post, the DGOJ has held a meeting with the licensed operators in order to inform them on its next major regulatory developments. Namely, such developments are: (i) the status and likely timings for approval connected with the draft decrees on slots and betting exchange; and (ii) the procedural steps that will be taken in order to articulate the re-opening of the market.
As a preliminary comment, it is important to mention that the DGOJ has publicly confirmed that the regulatory processes that should lead to the approval of the new games as well as to the re-opening of the market are moving forward, without being put on hold at all.
The most relevant issues connected with each one of the above-mentioned developments could be summarized as follows:
1. Status of the Draft Decrees on Slots and Exchange Betting
The DGOJ has confirmed that the procedure of review of the draft decrees by the European Commission is in progress but in any case it will not be completed until June 19. If no issues arise in the context of the said EU procedure (as it should be the case), the final text of the draft decrees will be escalated by the DGOJ to the Ministry for approval and publication.
A specific date for the publication of these decrees has not been provided, but taking into account all the circumstances surrounding the situation we could think that such formal approval should take place on early or mid-July. In any case, the decrees will not enter into force until a separate decree calling for a tender is published by the Spanish authorities (something that -as described in more detail below- should be likely happening on September).
On the other hand, the DGOJ has also confirmed that its technical team is currently working on the technical guidelines that will apply in regards of the homologation of slot games. The idea of the DGOJ is to count with those technical guidelines by the moment where the decrees approving the new games are passed, so that both the operators and the testing laboratories are aware of them when starting to prepare their corresponding applications.
2. Re-opening of the market
The DGOJ has confirmed that it is currently working on the decree that will set forth the provisions governing the new tender for applying for general licenses. Nevertheless, no major changes should be expected vis-à-vis the decree that applied on the first call for tender (that took place on 2011).
The idea of the DGOJ is that this decree calling for a new tender enters into force between one month and one month and a half after the passing of the decrees approving slots and exchange betting. Hence, the expected month for this tender being launched will likely be September (as August is a month in Spain where no major activity takes place due to the summer holidays).
Once this new call for tender has been issued, the term for filing the applications of general licenses is going to be of one month.
The aim of the DGOJ is of granting all the licenses in block (i.e the singular licenses for existing operators as well as general and singular licenses for new entrants).
On the likely term when all the new licenses are going to be granted (and, therefore, the games will be open for operation in Spain), no exact dates have been mentioned. Nonetheless, the DGOJ has not discarded the process being completed by late Q4 (even though it is possible that delays may occur and, therefore, the licenses could be finally granted on early 2015).