More stringent gambling industry conditions will come into play in Spain one day after a bill passed by the Senate is published in Spain’s Official State Gazette. Reforms of the Gambling Law of 2011 were introduced in May and passed the Chamber of Deputies in September before it was moved to the Senate.
The bill passed in the middle of last week with 146 votes in favor of the reforms and 113 Senators abstaining. A variety of amendments were rejected, including a 30% tax. All told, 22 amendments made their way into the reformed law.
The final bill was promoted as a way to “improve controls on sports manipulations, betting fraud and expand protections for problem gamblers.”
Among the changes is the creation of a “bad actors” database related to sports betting, advertising restrictions, and problem gambling policies. Many of the advertising restrictions were first introduced in response to residents in Spain staying home during the Covid pandemic and their exposure to excessive television and radio ads for gambling and sports betting services. Many restrictions were lifted but many were reintroduced in November 2020. The current reforms go even further and satisfy requests from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to bring back the most restrictive advertising rules.
Advertising reform was proposed prior to the world health emergency.
Rules on advertising will bolster the Royal Decree on Advertising that came into force in 2021. Sponsorships were banned and gambling advertisements were only allowed between 1 am and 5 am on the radio and television. Further requirements will ensure that operators won’t claim that status, prestige, mental health, or economic stability can be achieved through gambling along with other socially responsible restrictions.
Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling [Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ)], the Spanish regulator, will be allowed to establish a “Global Betting Market Research Service” to identify “persons involved in illicit gambling activities or betting/gambling related frauds”.
The “bad actor” database will not be restricted to use by the authority. Rather, the information will be available to police, licensed operators, regional authorities, and “all entities interested in eradicating fraud and manipulation of sports.”
Online Operators Subject to Certain Changes
Regarding online operators, players must be notified of safe and responsible gambling options when they first visit a website. These safeguards include information on self-exclusion, support helplines, and gambling control tools. Slots and casino game players will be required to set limits that can’t be changed for 24 hours. Those limits will include spending and session time.
A National Self-Exclusion database will be established for land-based and online gamblers in all 17 autonomous communities. The offshore Spanish communities of Ceuta and Melilla will also adopt the database.
Where the newly revised laws come down heaviest on operators is in the realm of dispute resolution. Operators who violate the newly revamped Consumer Law can be fined between €150 and €1m euro depending on the severity of the breach.
Source: Spain Sanctions Full Overhaul of Gambling Law, SBC News, October 28, 2022