Spain’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs has stressed the need for tougher monitoring of online gambling, having increased year-on-year ‘sector penalties’ handed to licensed operators.
The warning follows a sector update, which revealed that during the first half of 2022, the Ministry had issued “sanctions for serious infractions” on 53 operators, with fines totalling €84.3m.
Of the 53 individual penalties, the Ministry disclosed that it had issued “disqualification orders” on 21 operators for “very serious infractions” who have had their licences revoked for a period of two-years and must ensure the closure of their websites to the Spanish public.
DGOJ, Spain’s gambling authority, published the ‘list of 2022 infringements’ which named Famagousta BV, Purple Rain NV, Abundantia BV and CrackerJack Entertainment as operators that had their licences revoked.
A further 17 penalties were handed to operators deemed of “serious infractions of the Gambling Law”, who were forced to pay fines between €4m and €5m. The DGOJ’s remaining fines were handed out at a cost of €1m each.
Betfair Spain, Codere, and 888Sport were named as operators that had failed to meet the new requirements of the modified Gambling Regulation Law (LRJ) adopted in 2021.
Changes to the LRJ saw the Ministry of Consumer Affairs become the lead government department for gambling, enforcing tougher penalties on operator infringements.
Furthermore, the Ministry ordered that penalties must be disclosed to the public, as “it is, therefore, an exercise in transparency that makes it possible to know which the web domains are sanctioned for serious or very serious infractions”.
“This is the case of operators that offer gambling-related activities without the corresponding enabling title or of those who allow people who were prohibited from gambling to play knowing of such prohibitions, among other circumstances.”
2022 represents a significant year-on-year increase in fines which totalled €58m during 2021 sanctioned on 21 operators.
Alberto Garzon, Spain’s Minister of Consumer Affairs, warned operators to be ready for sweeping reforms to be adopted by the Gambling Law,
Approved last month by the Senate, new laws will require operators to maintain in-play safeguards and wagering limits on online casino and slot games, alongside new customer care duties on website/app access, player registrations and the monitoring/reporting of customer play.
Garzon noted that he expected no delay in the government’s sign-off of sweeping federal gambling reforms, in which operators will be granted no more than a grace period to implement necessary changes.