PokerStars continues its expansion into land-based gaming. After the exclusive agreement with the Hippodrome in London through its purchase of a stake in the casino and opening of a PokerStars branded cardroom, a joint venture to operate in Belgium with Circus Groupe, and most recently an announced $50 million bid for the Atlantic Club Casino of Atlantic City, PokerStars has headed straight to Spain and the Casino Gran Madrid for a new joint venture that would see the online operator launch a PokerStars branded poker room in Spain’s largest casino.
According to Spanish Gaming Magazine, Azar Plus, under the terms of a joint venture agreement, PokerStars is committed to restructuring the poker room in the Gran Casino Madrid.
In Spain, PokerStars already control 70% of the online poker market share. The investment was also encouraged through tax cuts sought by the Regional Community of Madrid, to facilitate the development of EuroVegas, who announced that the tax on profits for the casinos will drop from 45% to 10%. In the other regions of the Iberian Peninsula where standard rate of tax of 60% is still in force, it’s no shock that the Gran Casino Madrid and PokerStars will be a force to be reckoned with.
Madrid is becoming a gambling minefield with the anticipated mega casino project EUROVEGAS which is spearheaded by billionaire owner of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Sheldon Adelson, in the coming years with the construction of six mega structures. But the PokerStars live poker room could carve an important niche in the Spanish live poker market where already PokerStars have the dominant online presence and continue to be aggressive by recently signing celebrity ambassador Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal. The scenario is interesting and it promises to be a fiery rivalry: imagine the tug of war between the two rivals Isai Scheinberg and Sheldon Adelson, the man who has long opposed internet gambling. Mister PokerStars has decided to get the early advantage by bridging over into land-based gambling in the hopes of fully dominating the industry.