Author: Elisa Lorenzo
The Spanish Gambling Regulator (the “General Directorate for Gambling Affairs” or “DGOJ”) has recently published some guidelines containing very useful recommendations for the drafting of the terms and conditions (TT&CC) which online gambling operators licensed in Spain should apply while dealing with Spanish customers, and defining the main principles, criteria and practices that said TT&CC should comply with. These guidelines are published with the aim to (i) facilitate the online gambling operators the drafting of their TT&CC, ensuring that abusive clauses are not included in this type of agreements; (ii) reinforce the legal certainty for all participants in the market avoiding to the extent possible the existence of disputes; and (iii) ensure the protection of consumers in Spain.
These guidelines are very useful to understand the DGOJ’s approach to some of the most controversial points that govern the relationship between operators and its Spanish players, and could be very useful to defend the operator’s position before a potential dispute with Spanish players.
The main principles which according to the guidelines published by the DGOJ must govern the online gambling operators TT&CC are based on the need to obtain the express consent of the players (not only to ensure the proper formalization of the agreement but also on further amendments to the document), to provide sufficient and useful information to players which permits them to clearly understand their obligations, and to detail the consequences for the players in case of lack of compliance with the TT&CC and/or operator’s liability for the publication of errors on the platform. One of the most relevant aspects of those TT&CC is the obligation for operators to motivate each decision adopted in respect of its Spanish players (particularly with regard to fraud suspicious/investigations or analysis of responsible gambling conducts), as well as to inform players as soon as possible on any decisions adopted. Also, the operator is required to adopt the same approach with respect to all players under the same circumstances, and be consistent with the decisions adopted in each case. Finally, the DGOJ wants to encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution procedures.
The DGOJ has also published a separate document informing operators that in order to promote and encourage operators to implement an efficient and high-quality customer care service to players, the regulator will issue a recognition for those operators that comply with the criteria published by the DGOJ on good practices for these services. The aim of the DGOJ is to recognize the efforts of those gaming operators that go beyond the minimum legal requirements in respect of dealing with customers. Further information (available only in Spanish) can be found in the following link.