Spain’s Treasury has acknowledged that Spanish online gambling sites wishing to use bitcoins as means of transactions must apply for a license at the General Directorate of Games, a government body accountable to the State Secretary of the Treasury, who in turn, is responsible for authorizing, regulating, supervising, and penalizing gambling actions.
The Treasury’s ruling came after law firm Abanlex sought clarification on whether bitcoins are considered as money and if so, whether online gambling operators using bitcoins would be required to obtain licensing and pay fees. In its response, the Treasury defined bitcoins as “convertible virtual currency that can be exchanged between users and can also be converted into dollars, euros or other currencies both real and virtual.”
The implications are that transactions involving bitcoins are considered within the definition of a “bet” in Spain and it is incumbent upon online gambling sites to obtain the licenses required to process these transactions.
Abanlex lawyer Pablo Fernández Burgueño further explained the Spanish Treasury’s ruling, telling Spanish publication El Confidencial that while the Treasury does not consider bitcoins to be money, the Gambling Act’s provisions apply if gambling services operate using crypto currencies.
Burgueño’s mentioning of Law 7/2010 touches on another point that a Union, Progress, and Democracy (UPyD) party deputy touched on earlier this year when he said that any financial and monetary authority that recognizes bitcoins as a form of payment is bound by the country’s anti money-laundering and anti-terrorist financing limits on payments, hence the imposed limits on paying for anything worth more than €2,500, including bitcoins.