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Spain – Balearic casinos to open annexed properties

By - 9 September 2016

The three casinos located on the Balearic Islands will finally be permitted to run an annexed casino away from their existing operation.

The aim of the regional government is according to a statement: “To comply with the law, the regulation has been carried out in a restrictive way, and not surprisingly the three casinos wanted more land for their branches.”

The regulation, the public notification of which ended last week, states that in order to establish an additional site the operator must put down a deposit. The casino extensions can be located on any of the four of the Balearic Islands. The deposit will stand at €450,000 for Mallorca and €225,000 in the case of Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera (which is located just two miles away from Ibiza).
While gaming was already widespread, the Balearic Islands did not have a comprehensive gaming law in place until July 2014. Instead the industry was until then governed via a wide number of disparate rules and regulations.

While the primary purpose of the new law was to fill the legal vacuum and promote responsible gaming the law was also designed to take advantage of the boom in sports betting on the internet by allowing land based sports betting. The law not only allowed for betting shops but also allowed for sports betting in casinos, bingo halls and slot parlours. The new law was also aimed at more closely regulating the 90 slot parlours, five bingo halls, three casinos and 4,100 slot machines that were already located in bars and cafes.
According to the law, gaming would also still be permitted in bingo halls, gaming rooms and casinos. While casinos would not be allowed as part of hotels each casino would be permitted to allow an additional annex off site. However, 60 per cent of the space must be destined for non gaming purposes. The allowance of offsite annexes caused some controversy as the bill went for approval with members of the socialist party opposed to it on principle while a number of lawmakers argued that stand alone annexes should be subject to public tender.

However, according to the local government, the annexes will be run by the same operator as the casinos already established on the islands will be counted as one business unit for tax purposes.
The gaming room in Mallorca will be allowed to operate for a minimum of six months while annexes on the other islands will be permitted to operate for a minimum of three months. The annex in Mallorca will be permitted to operate in the north of the island or possibly in a five star hotel in the Bay of Palma, according to union sources.

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