London-listed online and land gambling group William Hill plc is opting out of Spain and a year long venture with the Codere group branded Victoria Apuestas, citing slow regulatory approvals and a control environment that militates against its expansion plans and has been too slow to open up other regions in the country.

Victoria Apuestas was widely applauded as assured of success in the liberalised Spanish gambling industry, opening its first betting shop in Madrid just over a year ago and building up a total of 98 shops in the Madrid and Basque autonomous regions.

The UK company said in a statement:

"These factors [slow approvals and the dilatory opening up of other regions], coupled with the difficult economic situation within Spain, were likely to lead to additional capital requirements and a delay in achieving William Hill's target return for the venture." The statement added that the company would be relying on its Internet startegies through William Hill Online to carry the main thrust of its international sportsbetting ambitions.

Last year, Will Hill pulled out of a venture in Italy with Codere, which resulted in the sale of William Hill Codere Italia to the Italian group Intralot Italia.

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