Spain’s Gambling Sector Braced for New Restrictions in 2020

  • Coalition government has outlined six key measures it plans to implement in 2020
  • Aiming to reduce the prevalence of problem gambling in the country
  • Gambling advertising laws to be brought in line with those imposed on the tobacco industry
  • Government will work with retail and online gambling operators to achieve its goals
Spain flags being flown during protest
Spain’s new coalition government has confirmed that the gambling sector will be hit with new restrictions in 2020 in a bid to reduce problem gambling. [Image:]

New restrictions on the way

Gambling operators in Spain are set to be hit with new restrictions in 2020.

Spain’s new coalition government, made up of the Unidos Podemos and PSOE parties, has unveiled plans for a new program that includes the “urgent regulation of gambling to prevent and curb gambling.”

identified six measures to reduce the volume of gambling advertising and betting

The coalition has identified six measures to reduce the volume of gambling advertising and betting in the country. It also plans to further regulate the advertising of retail and online gambling.

Gambling companies operating in the Spanish market are set to be subject to the same advertising laws that are in place for the tobacco industry. 

Spain introduced tobacco advertising restrictions in 2005 to stop such companies from partaking in sponsorship opportunities. The regulations also curtailed how tobacco products could be advertised and promoted across popular mediums in the country.

Aiming to reduce problem gambling

New measures will be brought in by the coalition government that will enhance the self-awareness of gamblers in the country. It wants Spanish residents to gamble in a healthy way and to anticipate, identify, and prevent the development of a gambling problem.

One of the colation’s goals is to stop gambling facilitates from being able to open their doors before 10 pm. It is also exploring the idea of banning gambling facilities from being located within a certain distance of schools.

stop gambling facilitates from being able to open their doors before 10 pm  

Warning signs about the dangers of gambling will also have to be placed at the entrances of gambling facilities. This would be similar to how cigarette packets have to show prominent warnings about the dangers of smoking. 

The administration fees that the government collects from gambling companies will be going to “preventive, awareness, intervention, and control initiatives, as well as to repair the negative effects produced by the game activity.”

Gambling sector to play a role

The coalition will not be working on these issues on its own. Gambling operators will be playing their part in order to help reduce the prevalence of problem gambling in Spain. 

Spain currently has the highest proportion of teenage gamblers in Europe. Between 2012 and 2017, online gambling participation rates have increased by a whopping 387%.

These operators will be enlisted for the “development of information, prevention, sensitization, and reparation actions for possible undesirable effects derived from gambling activity.”

Numerous calls have been made in the past to curtail gambling advertising in Spain. Many lawmakers used Italy as an example to follow. It was in January 2019 that a ban was introduced on all forms of gambling advertising in Italy, including sponsorship deals. 

Talk of these restrictions does not come long after the Spanish gambling regulator decided to classify gambling addiction as a mental disorder. There will be new studies taking place in the country to look at the effects gambling addiction has on mental health. 

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