Spain Restricts Welcome Bonuses on Gambling Sites

  • Operators will not be able to advertise welcome bonuses digitally, bonus size limited to €100
  • Problem gamblers can access a self-exclusion program barring them from online credit sources
  • The announced restrictions form part of an overarching set of gambling advertising rules in Spain
blue bonus key on keyboard
Spain has announced new online gambling restrictions which will see welcome bonuses limited to €100 and their digital advertising banned. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

The latest set of restrictions

New restrictions for welcome bonus offers are set to come into place for online gambling operators in the Spanish market.

maximum allowable bonus will be set at €100 ($108)

As part of these latest constraints, operators will not be able to advertise welcome bonuses digitally. The maximum allowable bonus will be set at €100 ($108). Problem gamblers will also be able to access new ways to block themselves from accessing online credit to play with. 

Spain’s Minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón, announced the latest restrictions on Monday. He highlighted that most gambling sites offer bonuses as an incentive to sign new people up as well as to retain existing users. He labeled the process as “proven to be controversial.”

Garzón said bonus strategies increase the number of online gamblers as well as their gambling frequency. He added that they attract underage individuals and those struggling with problem gambling.

New rules form part of overarching project

The recently announced restrictions will form part of the Royal Decree Project, which entails establishing a set of new rules on how gambling companies are allowed to market and advertise their offerings.

Other measures being implemented as part of the project include curtailing advertising from gambling companies to a four-hour period daily, starting at 1am. 

The new decree will be fully presented to Congress on February 28.

aims to stop problem gamblers accessing different forms of online financing

The Spanish government also made another announcement Monday regarding the newly created EFICAZ, a program that aims to stop problem gamblers accessing different forms of online financing to play. The new self-exclusion program is expected to see the participation of many major online credit firms.

Changes already being made

Jdigital, a lobby group for online gambling operators in the Spanish market, issued a statement in response to Garzón’s announcement. It said its members have already begun implementing a new voluntary advertising code which limits the size of welcome offers to a maximum possible bonus of €200 ($216). These types of promotions can also only be advertised outside child-friendly broadcast hours. 

There are also calls to ban credit cards from being used for online gambling, and for problem gambling to be classified as a mental disorder.

Problem gambling in Spain

Although Spain has high rates of underage gamblers, it scores a low percentage of problem gambling when compared to other European nations. Recently published surveys indicate just 0.4% problem gamblers in the country. 

The Spanish police also do not have many concerns with the gambling sector. The head of the National Police Gaming and Betting Control Service, Javier Molinera, said police forces do not relate any major social problems to gambling in the region. 

Molinera told Spanish news agency EFE that the gambling sector had no shortage of oversight. He added that it was a lot simpler for underage people to gamble at retail facilities rather than online, due to stringent verification checks. He also maintained that operators have no interest in allowing minors to gamble at their sites, in view of the hefty financial penalties that are in place.