Players resident outside of Spain started reporting Friday that their accounts at the 888.es dedicated Spanish gambling website were being shuttered.
The shutdown is being interpreted as a precautionary move by the online gambling company in order to keep its international legal and regulatory slate clean by ensuring that only bona fide Spanish residents are permitted to gamble.
Affected players have been advised that their account balances will be paid out to them using their original depositing channels, although the notifying email gave no reason for the closure of their .es accounts.
There is some uncertainty on whether non-Spanish residents should be barred; whilst the national regulator requires that Spanish online gambling player bases must be maintained separate and distinct from international player pools, there is confusion over whether this de facto prevents international players from registering at a Spanish site and becoming part of the dedicated Spanish player pool.
888.es appears to be using its discretion to cut through any confusion by simply banning non-Spanish players.
888.es is not alone in taking this cautious step; from the get go in Spain Pokerstars.es has accepted only Spanish residents.
Thus far there has been no official statement from 888 on the issue.