Spanish Lawmakers Approve Tougher Responsible Gambling Measures

  • A new royal decree aims to strengthen protections for underage and vulnerable consumers
  • Operators must conduct more extensive monitoring of users under the new decree
  • Users categorized as “at-risk” won’t be able to deposit with a credit card
  • The Ministry of Consumption can issue fines as high as €50m to uncompliant operators
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Spanish lawmakers have approved a slew of new measures that will help to better protect at-risk gamblers, especially younger people. [Image:]

Strengthening protections

Spain’s Council of Ministers has approved a new royal decree that will strengthen responsible gambling measures across the country. The “Royal Decree on Responsible Gambling Environments” will be in place in the 17 autonomous Spanish communities. The main goal of the legislation is to “strengthen the protection of underage and vulnerable consumers, especially those aged 18 to 25.”

licensees must put in place new duty of care rules

Gambling operators in Spain will now have to adhere to the new requirements. All licensees must put in place new duty of care rules, which will include creating risk profiles of customers and closely monitoring certain types of users.

Closer monitoring

Operators will have to closely watch any users whose net loss is €600 ($635) over a three-week period. The net loss threshold drops to €200 ($212) if the user is younger than 25. Anyone who falls into this bracket will need to be treated as an at-risk gambler.

A person who is categorized as at-risk will be sent a warning message and a monthly summary of their gambling activity. Their account will be suspended if they do not reply within 72 hours. These people will also not be allowed to add funds to their accounts with credit cards or join any VIP program.

Some gambling operators have criticized the new measures, believing that they are hyper-restrictive and unnecessary.

Marketing restrictions are also in place with the decree. For example, marketing teams cannot send any promotions to young people if they had no previous interactions with the operator.

Dealing with problem gambling

Most of the new rules will go into effect six months after they are published in the Official State Gazette. Some of the more complex regulations will likely be given a 12-month transition period.

One of the big reasons why Spanish lawmakers have been tightening gambling-related laws in recent years is the growing concern over problem gambling rates in the country, especially among young people. Easy access to online gambling is said to be a factor in rising addiction levels.

problem gambling activity among young people between 14 and 18 years old is 3.4%

A study by an addiction welfare clinic estimated that the level of problem gambling activity among people in Spain between 14 and 18 years old is 3.4%. The Spanish government has committed to increasing expenditure on gambling addiction prevention from €1.1m ($1.16m) to €2.2m ($2.3m).

Significant fines will be handed out to operators that do not fall in line with Spain’s gambling laws. The Ministry of Consumption has the ability to issue fines as high as €50m ($53m) and can strip gaming licenses from operators if the matter is especially serious.

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