Spain: Online gambling advertising, what’s coming next.

Authors: Paula González de Castejón and Elisa Lorenzo 

As previously mentioned in this blog, the only piece of regulation of advertising of online gambling activities in force in Spain is by now a Self of Conduct Code that was approved in 2012. This code, which has been updated recently, has been accepted by most of the operators, being therefore de facto fully applicable in the Spanish market.

However, for a long time the Spanish Government has announced its intention to publish a specific piece of regulation covering the advertising of gambling activities. On 2016 a first Draft Royal Decree regulating the advertising of gambling activities as well as regulating responsible gaming issues (“Draft Royal Decree on Gambling Advertising“) was published by the DGOJ, being in principle planned to be passed before the elections of June 2016, but this was not possible.

After a turbulent period from a political perspective our current Government (formed last month as a coalition of several political parties with different ideologies and approaches to this matter) has announced their intention to finally approve a new version of the Draft Royal Decree on Gambling Advertising.

According to the latest press releases in Spain, the Ministry for Consumer Affairs – headed by Alberto Garzón – has maintained several meetings during last weeks with representatives of the gambling industry and plans to publish in a few days a new Draft Royal Decree on Gambling Advertising with the aim to strengthen the protection of consumers and the responsible gambling practices.

The Ministry has announced that the new Draft Royal Decree on Gambling Advertising will include some limitations that will directly affect the advertising of these activities on television, radio and internet:

  1. It has been announced that the broadcasting in radio and TV of advertisements of gambling activities will be limited to a more restricted time band (from 1am to 5am). It is not clear whether it will be finally allowed to, during the broadcasting of an sport event, advertise specific bets related to that sport event. Neither it is finally clear whether the number of gambling advertising spots broadcasted during a given period, i.e. football match half-time break, will be limited to less than 50% (the percentage is still to be defined) of the advertising period.
  2. Advertising of bonuses making reference to an economic amount (i.e. first deposit, loyalty bonuses) will be forbidden.
  3. The offering of bonuses will be limited to a maximum amount of €100.

According to said press releases, Mr. Garzón plans to present the said draft next week to the Health and Consumption Commission of the Congress and to launch the legislative process to approve the last version of the said Draft Royal Decree on Gambling Advertising for filing allegations.

For the time being no Draft document or official statement has been published and therefore more changes could be contained in the new Draft Royal Decree on Gambling Advertising. We will keep informing on new developments on this blog.