Spain Online Gambling Restrictions Take Effect in October

Alberto Garzon

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The new online gambling restrictions recently enacted by the Spanish government will officially take effect in October. The decision to fully implement the highly controversial law came in after the European Commission did not have any objection to the country’s stiffer gambling regulations.

The decision was confirmed by the country’s Minister of Consumer Affairs Alberto Garzon. Mr. Garzon added that he will be urging the government’s Council of State to approve the new gambling advertising regulations by December. Given this timeline, the new regulations should receive final approval from the Council of Ministers by October.

Stricter regulations

The latest draft of the new gambling regulations was sent to the European Commission on July 9 and was considered as ‘urgent.’ This simply shows how serious the Spanish government is in enacting these new regulations. Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic lockdown somehow helped the government in pushing these new regulations.

The Spanish government considers these new restrictions are extremely important. The regulating body claims that gambling ads are posing a grave threat to children and that the industry should be properly regulated.

The initial draft of the law allows gambling companies to serve advertisements during live sports events. However, this particular stipulation was completely removed in the final draft that was sent to the European Commission.

The new regulation wants to limit all gambling advertisements on TV, radio, and online platforms. The new law does not prohibit gambling ads complete. Instead, the government is allowing gambling companies to run ads during a four-hour window that starts at 1 AM.

Perhaps the most controversial stipulation of the law is the ban on sponsorship deals with sporting clubs. The new law completely prohibits gambling companies to sponsor any sports team, league, or domestic competition.

The new law makes it illegal to put gambling logos and brand names on sporting kits, stadiums, and even on pitch-side advertisements. Both gambling companies and sporting clubs are against this new law. It is important to note that several sporting clubs rely heavily on advertisements for their revenue.

The new law also aims to limit perks and bonuses given by online operators to their customers. New limits will be imposed on bonus offers as well as the frequency and the amount of their deposits. With this new law, the once popular welcome bonus package will be completely removed.

Reaction from stakeholders

Many sporting clubs and the entire gambling industry will be severely hit with these new regulations. It comes as no surprise why they are some of the most vocal resistance of the new law.

Nevertheless, the Spanish government seems adamant in enacting this new law. Mr. Garzon said recently that the new regulations will be just the early steps in the country’s effort to curb problem gambling.

While the new law specifically aims to limit gambling ads on TV, radio, and online platforms, Mr. Garzon said that the regulations may soon find their way into land-based operators.

He said that he is in discussion with several officials from the country’s autonomous regions in order to limit land-based gambling in their jurisdictions.

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