Spain Steps Up Efforts to Fight Problem Gambling

Spain Steps Up Efforts to Fight Problem GamblingSpain’s Council of Ministers has approved the “Royal Decree on Responsible Gaming Environments” to tackle potential negative gambling impact on locals. The new Decree focuses on protecting young people aged 18 to 25.

Spain’s Minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón, is the initiator of the Decree, which is expected to come into effect in six months. The Decree will require licensed operators to closely monitor their customers and detect at-risk players based on the amount they spend. Under the provisions of the new Decree, everyone who generates a net loss of €600 or more over three consecutive weeks is considered a compulsive gambler. For players below 25, that amount is €200.

The New Royal Decree’s Objective

The new Decree is to create a safer gambling environment and protect at-risk players from potential negative consequences that gambling could have on their mental and financial health. Under the new rules, operators must send warning messages to players with at-risk profiles and present a summary of their gaming activity every month.

The Decree also prohibits gambling companies from sending promotional materials to at-risk consumers. Besides, such users will be banned from using their credit cards for gambling transactions and participating in VIP schemes. Operators must contact at-risk players and suspend their accounts if they do not respond within 72 hours.

The new Decree also bars operators from sending promotions to people aged 18 to 25 who have never visited their gambling websites. A message warning that gambling at an early age increases the risk of gambling problems must appear in young players’ profiles. The Decree also includes new protection mechanisms for players who have enforced special restrictions on their accounts or have entered the national self-exclusion register.

Operators found in violation of the Royal Decree’s provisions will face hefty fines of up to €50 million and even license revocation. The Ministry of Consumption is the authority that has the power to issue fines to wrongdoers.

Spain Tightens Its Grip On the Gambling Industry

Problem gambling affects people all over the world. Various surveys show that Spain is among the countries with the lowest gambling rate in the world. That can be attributed to the strict gambling regulations that govern the gambling industry in Spain. In November 2020, the Spanish government approved the Royal Decree of Commercial Communications, imposing draconian restrictions on gambling commercials.

According to the Decree, gambling commercials can be broadcast only from 1 am to 5 am. Besides, gambling ads must not use images of money and luxury items or imply that gambling is more important than family and friends. Gambling companies are also prohibited from advertising their brands on Spanish football shirts.

However, not everyone has appreciated the efforts made by the Spanish Government to regulate the country’s gambling sector. The Spanish online gambling association JDigital criticized the tendency of tougher regulatory rules unveiled by local lawmakers, along with the provisions of the new Decree. The organization claims that the Spanish gambling market is already overregulated and the implementation of more restrictions would have an extremely negative impact on gambling companies’ performances.