Spain's remarkable libralisation of gambling continued this week with the news that Ekasa, a joint venture between Basque gaming companies, has opened the region's first betting shop in Bilbao.
Additional shops are planned for the area, including Eibar and Vitoria. Each of licensee is allowed to open 25 betting shops with a maximum of 500 terminals under the new licencing regime.
The opening coincides with the return of football season in Europe, one of the most bet upon sports globally. The betting shops will be introduced to the many towns in the Basque region but only the cities of Bilbao and Santurtzi will be allowed to have multiple outlets - four shops in Bilbao and two for Santurtzi.
Aside from football, the venues will offer a range of sports including Basque pelota.
Spain's Basque government granted a total of 75 licenses last year to three operators which will allow the opening of 25 betting shops per operator. The three operators are Ekasa, a consortium of small Basque gaming operators; Kirol Jokoa, a venture between Basque Aspe and Egusport; and Garaipen Victoria Apostak SL, a joint venture between William Hill and Codere SA operating through Victoria Apuestas SA.