PokerStars has been operating legally in Spain since their services were first offered in 2001 according to the Spanish court.
Codere, Spanish gambling giant, tried to put the heat on PokerStars by claiming that it was operating unlawfully before the country's new gambling regulation in June 2012. The argument from Codere was that online gambling operators offered services to Spanish gamblers without state authorization and it negatively impacted the firm's land-based operations.
PokerStars issued a press release on November 16th, 2012, that stated a Barcelona court had affirmed that PokerStars operated lawfully in Spain before June 2012 because "the lack of regulation meant that there was no relevant law preventing such activity."
“This ruling confirms the legal advice we have been given and which we have followed in Spain for years,” said group general counsel Paul Telford for PokerStars. “We are very pleased the court agreed with our position and look forward to continuing to provide our licensed poker services as the leading brand in the Spanish market.”
“The Barcelona court judgment is absolutely clear in its conclusion that PokerStars has always operated in Spain according to the law," added Antonio Vázquez-Guillén, partner at Allen & Overy, PokerStars' counsel for the case. "We are very happy with this outcome. It clarifies a question that, in our view, should never have been brought to a Court of Justice."
The Spanish Gambling Commission issued a specific online gaming license to PokerStars operating under www.pokerstars.es in June. PokerScout.com shows pokerstars.es dominates the Spanish poker market with nearly 70 percent of the real-money traffic since the opening of the new market.