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Spain to Introduce Tougher Gambling Advertising Restrictions
- October 15, 2018 By Oliver Young -
The Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español) and Unidos Podemos will join forces and make the restrictions on online gambling and gambling advertising tougher than ever. They have proposed a budget plan for 2019 which contains more rigorous advertising restrictions for licensed gambling.
They go to such length that they compare gambling with tobacco and express the intent to incorporate similar restrictions to those for tobacco.
In 2005, sponsorship for tobacco products was prohibited, as well as any kind of promotion and advertising. So, gambling operators could face the same restrictions in near future.
The 2019 Budget Regulations
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, the leader of the PSOE has made a deal with the socialist Unidos Podemos’s leader Pablo Iglesias on the proposed 2019 Budget which will include the new regulations.
A study for 2017 showed that gambling companies have spent more than €143m on gambling advertising. That is why the Proposed Budget states that in recent years, online gaming operators have been using very aggressive advertising strategies in order to promote their gambling activities. They have been linking gambling to famous people, and have been using successful athletes as their face for their ads. Moreover, football or basketball games are bombarded with ads that offer live betting and free vouchers, making this activity very accessible to anyone, more importantly to minors, generating serious problems of addiction and pathological gambling. The Government has explained that addressing this problem is essential.
The Government of the PSOE and the parliamentary caucus of Unidos Podemos made it clear that the gaming sector should be subject to much more rigorous controls. In addition, they blame the advertising strategies of the gambling sector and argue that the growth of gambling operations is generating serious addiction problems.
What Could Change?
Although PSOE and Unidos Podemos do not explicitly mention the following types of measures, remarks such as the one about equating the treatment of gambling with tobacco point in the direction of a less advertising freedom.
They could equate the regulatory treatment for gambling with the restrictive regulations in the tobacco sector, obliging gambling operators to incorporate measures of information, management, and limitation of consumption. They could also require companies in the gambling industry to invest in actions of information, prevention, awareness and repair of undesirable effects derived from gambling. In addition, there is a possibility that popular, successful athletes that used to promote gambling will no longer be present in the gambling ads, with the aim to prevent the negative effects of gambling.
The Government of the Popular Party has considered the possibility of approving a decree containing similar measures. One of the objectives of the drafts that the Rajoy Administration considered in 2015 and 2017 was to restrict gambling advertising during children’s hours, from 6 am to 10 am, which would have directly affected sports broadcasts on radio and television.
Gambling Restrictions Spread Throughout Europe
The news for the new Spanish regulations follows the Ireland, Italy and UK’s gambling restrictions. Ireland has increased the gambling tax, Italy has completely banned gambling ads, and the UK updated the rules for alternative dispute resolution, for better consumers’ protection.
Whether this means that restrictions will keep on spreading and that the gambling sector in Europe faces a potential risk, we’re yet to see. Nevertheless, the PSOE presents the budget today, October 15th to the EU, with the hopes of gaining approval on its budget plans. Spain’s Congress, though, has the final say.