Spain: Gambling Authorities publicly declare an interest in social gaming

The online social network games are currently exempted from gambling regulatory restrictions in Spain as long as they do not include the elements required to be classified as gambling. However, the recent attention paid to the rise of this sector and its massive market by national gambling commissions as well as the European Union appears to have attracted the attention of the Spanish gambling authorities.

Indeed, despite its lack of jurisdiction over this matter, the Spanish Gambling Commission decided to execute a research on social network games (in particular, on their addictive impact on teenagers who are the main target of such games). According to Expansión, one of the Spanish leading economic newspapers, 20% of social network users are under 16 in Spain. It is also stated that the Spanish Gambling Commission points out that this issue is going to be followed closely in order to decide whether a specific regulatory framework must be set forth on this type of games.

All in all, the Spanish Gambling Act is only applicable on any activity where amounts of money or valuable goods are put at stake in connection with the results of future or uncertain events and depending, at a given level and regardless of the skills of the participants, on randomness and which may imply the awarding of prizes. In this respect, social network games are not covered by this Act. However, pursuant to the interest publicly shown on them, the Spanish authorities would be starting to consider whether this kind of games should be offered im the future under a defined regulatory framework.