SBC News Spain appoints Urbiola as 'dedicated minister' of federal gambling reforms

Spain appoints Urbiola as ‘dedicated minister’ of federal gambling reforms

The Council of Ministers of Spain has appointed Andrés Barragán Urbiola as Secretary General of Consumption and Gaming.

Urbiola will oversee Spain’s ongoing federal overhaul of gambling laws, a directive led by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

The appointment of a dedicated minister to oversee gambling reforms, had been requested by Pablo Bustinduy, Spain’s Minister of Consumer Affairs and Social Rights.

Leadership changes in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs have Bustinduy taking over the remit of gambling reforms, previously managed by Alberto Garzon, who opted not to serve in Spain’s new ‘progressive left’ coalition government.

Since 2020, under Garzon’s leadership, Spain has reorganised its gambling laws to develop unified standards and centralised controls for online and land-based gambling.

Garzon authorised the “Royal Decree on Gambling Advertising,” reshaping Spain’s gambling landscape by banning betting sponsorships and restricting gambling advertisements to late-night hours.

Approved in 2023, Garzon further drafted the “Royal Decree on Responsible Gaming Environments,” preparing the Spanish gambling industry for additional changes. These include a centralized player registry and mandatory documentation of risk profiles for younger consumers, particularly those under 25.

Appointing Urbiola as Secretary General of Consumption and Gaming is a strategic move by Spain’s government to continue its rigorous overhaul of gambling laws. Urbiola, with a strong background in economic policy and financial analysis and was personally selected by Pablo Bustinduy to oversee federal reforms for the gambling sector.

Urbiola’s diverse experience in the Ministry of Economy, Commerce and Business, where he designed support measures for companies during the pandemic and planned Spain’s Transformation and Resilience Recovery Plan, influenced his appointment.

As Secretary General, Urbiola will focus on implementing and enhancing these measures, ensuring that by 2024, Spanish gambling operators comply with some of the strictest regulations in Europe.

The appointment underscores Spain’s commitment to fostering a safer gambling environment and addressing gambling addiction challenges, aligning with the new Action Plan on Addictions for 2025-2028 that Bustinduy leads.

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