A key official in Spain has waylaid fears of serious gambling issues and vulnerability amongst Spanish players, in a time in which the Spanish regulatory guidelines in terms of advertising and protecting players are under review.
The Official Position
In a Madrid Workers Commissions (CCOO), Spanish gaming authority DGOJ chief director general Mikel Arana announced that DOJ studies revealed that “the vast majority of people who gamble, whether online or offline, do so as a leisure activity and it is not a health problem for them.”
Arana tempered his announcement with the assertion that protection against unsafe levels of play still need to be established in the review.
Trade Association Resists
Spanish iGaming trade association Jdigital took the opportunity to slam the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and government at large for acting with have acted with “conscious arbitrariness and disproportionality” in putting forth the new advertising restrictions rolled out across 2020 and 2021.
The Contested Restrictions
The controversial regulations include strict limits on the hours that TV and radio advertising is permitted on TV and radio; and bans on promotional acquisition offers as well as sports team gambling sponsorships of sports teams.
Jdigital Concerned about Precedents
Jdigital continues to take issue by calling Spain's online gambling market one of the most heavily regulated worldwide, with Spanish gambling legislation becoming a model for regulation across other jurisdictions in Europe and beyond.
The data from Spain’s National Drugs Plan indicates that problem gambling prevalence in Spain is below a scant it 0.5% (with some research saying it is as low as .3%) among Spanish players aged 15 to 64, a figure which has remained stable since 2015 with slight fluctuation downward.
Jdigital Asserts Internal Capabilities
Jdigital remains steadfast in the assertion that the operators can take care of problem gamblers themselves, calling for “balanced and proportionate” evidence-based regulation.
With the Ministry for Consumer Affairs establishing in January that the key priority for 2021 would be consumer protection, the Spanish government is clearly committed to flattening the curve even further--which would in turn continue to be a sore point for trade associations such as Jdigital, despite one of the most successful records for player protection in the world.