Spain’s Overhaul of Gambling Legislation Sends Shockwaves Throughout the Industry

Published March 26, 2023 by Florin P

Spain’s Overhaul of Gambling Legislation Sends Shockwaves Throughout the Industry

The Royal Decree approved by Spanish ministers and aimed at protecting young and vulnerable categories of gamblers draws fire from industry representatives.

The wheels were set in motion by Spain’s main executive body, to overhaul gambling legislation and create a safer environment. The main objective is to offer additional protections to younger, and that’s why the Council of ministers, has approved the Royal Decree. This is a continuation of a policy to tighten the country’s gambling advertising law enacted by the same ministry in 2020.

A Ward against Intensive Gambling Behaviours

Spanish lawmakers highlighted the importance of introducing new laws capable of minimizing the risks posed by problem gambling. They highlighted the perils of players developing pathological behaviours, which are strong enough to warrant such legislation. Young people seem to be the most vulnerable ones, especially players between the ages of 18 and 25. They also happen to be among the most targeted by gambling advertisements, therefore require additional protections.

Players who fall into this category will be regarded as intensive gamblers if they lose over €200 and a limit of €600 will be enforced for all players. Furthermore, a new credit card ban will apply to vulnerable players, so they can’t deposit and wager more than they can afford to lose. At the same time, gaming operators will be prohibited from targeting these people with promotions of any type. Those who have earned interacted before with the gambling industry can’t be targeted either.

New Measures Draw Criticism

Gambling operators will need to explain the risks of gambling to younger players and those who fail to comply will be subject to hefty fines. The penalties start at €1 million and can go all the way up to €50 million, as well as the loss of the license. Since the rules will come into force six months after being published in the Official State Gazette, gaming companies have some time to prepare. Given the harsh nature of the penalties, gambling companies need to adjust in a timely fashion.

The Spanish online operator association JDigital was critical of the new changes, as Spain already has one of the strictest regulatory regimes continent-wide. The lobbying group says that the measures are excessive and do little to protect vulnerable categories, beyond what existing rules already do. They also complained that these are largely political measures that can create confusion and saw fear in society, about a perfectly safe sector.

The gambling market in Spain is growing at a slower pace and industry representatives blame the prohibitive legislation. They say that they’ve had limited time to prepare and adjust for the most recent measures and this change will further complicate their mission. They expressed their dissatisfaction with the current direction in which the laws are being changed but vowed to work with lawmakers and convince them to refrain from pushing excessive legislation.

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