A small Pyrenees Mountain country known as the Principality of Andorra, located between Spain and France is getting real close to adding regulated online poker to its arsenal due to a bill which introduced newer laws for online and live gambling.
In June of 2013, this bill was initially proposed after which it went in front of the Andorra’s General Council to be reviewed further. This newer law enables internet poker to fit in the same game category as those that involve both luck and skill. However, all operators in the country are required to hold a Class D license in order to provide an online poker or gambling experience.
The Minister of the Presidency in Andorra, Antoni Riberaygua, spoke of this proposed bill at the time of the introduced legislation, however, he did so in an optimistic but cautionary tone. He stated that this was indeed an opening of a newer prudent and calm activity that may lead to the emergence and expansion of a sector that is potentially attractive to consumers.
Consumer Protection Commitment
Andorra’s caution when it comes to gambling is quite clear since this revised bill includes much more stricter guidelines such as running age verifications to eliminate minor online gambling. In addition, each land-based casino will be offered only one license and Andorra proposed another license should its population reach 100k but only to be declined.
It was clearly stated by Riberaygua right from the start that Andorra’s approach towards regulated online gambling is a moderated one and that any ‘American model’ type of casino should be avoided altogether.
Having concerns for the social effect of gambling, Riberaygua stated that the 10.2 million annual visitors to Andorra should be intrigued as a whole by the country rather than being ‘captive’ to the several different gambling institutions. With that in mind, slot machines may only be found within one casino.
The Consell Regulador Andorra del Joc will regulate the gambling activities of Andorra and provide all licenses for internet poker too.
Even though Andorra is set between Spain and France, many anticipate its online gambling market to grow exponentially and without borders which would allow for a greater success rate and shared player pools.
Foreign lottery sales in Andorra have been spoken about with close by regulators according to Ribergaygua and it would be considered unthinkable to not confront the neighboring states regulation before moving forward.
But, since there is no real interest for a shared liquidity agreement between France and Spain, it might just result in Andorra having an online poker market all on its own and attracting unregulated gaming companies to compete for Andorran poker player action.
There is good news, however, for Andorrans in that they will soon possibly have more options when it comes to online poker combined with consumer security and protection put in place. Any product offerings will be up to the licensees. Come around the middle of 2015, the pending gambling legislation will come to a vote preceding the yearly budget talks.