UK-listed online gambling operator 888 Holdings hosted a poker event at the Casino Gran Via in Madrid, Spain on Wednesday. The Prime Poker Challenge Madrid-Barça was a benefit for the Nacex Foundation’s non-profit Forever Dream initiative, which seeks to aid children suffering from brain diseases, and was timed to celebrate the upcoming clash between football rivals Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Following the tournament, participants were encouraged to place a wager on Saturday’s match with 888’s new Spanish-facing sportsbook.
888 has been looking to made further inroads into the Spanish sports betting market following the August launch of its new sportsbook. 888.es enjoys second billing in Spain’s regulated online poker market and its casino offering is among the country’s market leaders. 888 has now launched a major marketing push to ensure Spanish punters are aware of 888’s Kambi Sports Solutions-powered sportsbook.
888 COO Ital Frieberger told eGaming Review that the company had been encouraged by the reaction to August’s soft-launch, “so we are continuing to push and we will push more and more.” The company has launched a TV campaign in addition to billboard and football pitch-side branding. Frieberger said the Kambi addition had given 888 the tools it needed to succeed and “the numbers are growing very nicely.”
888 may soon face more online competition in Spain after the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) announced it would re-open its licensing window. The announcement came as Spain declared itself nearly ready to accept applications from operators already holding a Spanish license for the eagerly awaited new slots and exchange betting licenses.
Once open, the licensing window will remain open for 30 days and will also be open for companies not currently licensed to operate in Spain. The regulated market has been a boon for a few operators while exceedingly difficult for the vast majority due to excessively high tax rates and the limited range of gambling options. But the addition of slots sometime in Q1 2015 could allow lesser operators to narrow the gap between themselves and the market leaders.