no way back spain faces its inevitable gambling reform

no way back spain faces its inevitable gambling reform

by 23.04.2019 0 comments

Regardless of the outcome of Spain’s General Election this Saturday 28 April, the ensuing government in whatever shape or form will be tasked with reforming the nation’s advertising and gambling codes.

The week of Good Friday, Spanish news sources reported that the minority PSOE government had agreed to Podemos party demands on restricting gambling services and betting advertising.

Campaigning in Spain’s snap election (called 15 February), Pablo Iglesias the leader of ‘populist socialists’ Podemos, published the party’s ‘civic pledge’ this April, outlining a series of ‘forceful anti-gambling’ measures.

Though Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez has confirmed that PSOE will move to reform Spain’s advertising laws, limiting gambling/betting marketing – Iglesias has declared that his party will form no government, unless Podemos wholesale gambling demands are met.

Destined to form a razor-thin socialist coalition with Podemos, PSOE has toughened its narrative on gambling, with party MPs stating that they will deliver an ‘agenda on betting which reflects tobacco’.

The agenda on reforming Spain’s gambling laws is not limited to PSOE and Podemos. This April, El Pais and Xataka published in-depth reports outlining 15-years of Spain’s liberalised gambling/betting marketplace.

Pointing to Treasury statistics, Xataka reports that since 2013 Spanish gamblers have doubled from 645,000 to 1.5 million in 2018, with Spanish consumers moving away from ‘soft games’ such as the ‘Quinelas’ betting pools and ‘Once’ lotteries to online casino and live betting.

Furthermore, the reports outline the dominant presence of betting advertising on sports programming, with operators deemed to have spent €330 million in ad-spend during 2018.

Stating its case, Xataka points to Spanish football’s ‘embrace of bookmakers’, which this La Liga season, sees Real Sociedad as the only football club to abstain from a betting partnership.

In further betting-related news, this April Spanish investigative journal ElCierre published an open editorial to Spanish football clubs and La Liga, castigating the use of star athletes to promote wagering services.

Utilising controversial in-program messaging promoting the latest match odds on Spain’s most-watched football shows, ElCierre states that it is ‘now almost impossible to separate betting from any Spanish football broadcast’.

Speaking to SBC, Mikel Lopez de Torre, President of Spanish online gambling trade body JDigital, noted regulatory change as an inevitable circumstance:-

“All the parties in Spain are aligned in that specific advertising regulations should replace the current self regulation scenario. A view shared by JDigital and the online gambling industry.”

“As a matter of fact, the Royal Decree on Gambling Advertising has been ready to be approved for a long time, and it´s only the political instability that´s prevented it from being passed. The official figures on problem gambling in Spain, published by the administration last year, throw a 0,3% prevalence of problem gambling, the same figure as in the previous study. So we hope for these elections to bring back a stable government with a sufficient majority, who can approve the Decree consensuated with operators, problem gambling associations, and the media”.


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