Spain to Restrict Gambling Ads to Four-Hour Window

  • Spanish government has proposed new rules on gambling-related advertisements
  • Alberto Garzón met representatives of gaming industry associations CeJuego and Jdigital
  • How online and land-based casinos are affected will be revealed in the next few weeks
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New regulations proposed by the Spanish government would limit gambling advertisements on TV and radio to a four-hour window. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Big changes on the way

Spain’s government is considering restricting gambling advertisements on TV and radio to a four-hour window starting at 1am in the morning.

The proposal was revealed earlier this week when Minister of Consumer Affairs Alberto Garzón met representatives of gaming industry associations CeJuego and Jdigital. Both associations spoke positively about the meeting.

Alberto Garzón met representatives of gaming industry associations CeJuego and Jdigital

Details surrounding online and land-based casino advertising are yet to be made public. Further meetings are now planned for local gambling companies, relative charities, and media outlets.

Initial proposal

According to Spanish media outlets, Garzón’s plan is simply a ‘first round’ proposal. However, the government has started with a harsh stance allowing just four hours in the early morning for gambling advertisements.

It is thought that these suggestions may also include further restrictions dedicated to online advertising, although this will not be revealed until a new draft is released in a few weeks time.

Plans for a consultation period have been announced and will follow the draft publication, but this outcome could happen much sooner than previously anticipated. Garzón has said that he wants the new rules to be put into law by the summer.

Problem with sponsorships

There has been talk of restructuring gambling in Spain with additional restrictions for the past year. Now, as well as online and internet advertising, the government will look at how land-based casinos target their audiences and whether the use of sports teams should have an impact.

Understandably, this would harm a lot of sponsorship deals that clubs already have with gambling advertisers, so there could be a considerable impact from any hard-line proposals.

Any proposed limits on advertising would affect both private operators and also the state-run lotteries SELAE and ONCE. Yet some products may fall under an exemption which would offer an advantage to the state-run lottery sector.

“Calm dialogue” needed

After the meeting, JDigital published a statement in which they declared the meeting a “positive assessment,” while also acknowledging that more work needs to be done.

Meanwhile, the other industry association at the meeting, CeJeugo, said that it shared the government’s view that there was a need to

meet the existing social alarm through a calm dialogue with the sector based on rigorous studies.”

Spain currently has one of the lowest problem gambling rates in Europe and Minister López has reminded the government of the need to impose “fair, equitable, and proportionate regulation of the reality of gaming in Spain.”

He is said to be worried about Spain copying Italy’s approach of an outright ban on gambling advertising and sponsorship, which figures show has both failed to reduce gambling participation and actively driven gamblers to internationally-licensed sites. These sites are not subject to the same restrictions as those in Italy.