As anticipated, Spain’s Council of Ministers has approved the “Royal Decree on Responsible Gaming Environments” to federally enforce new measures and gambling restrictions
Adopting the changes across Spain’s 17 autonomous communities, the Council aims to “strengthen the protection of underage and vulnerable consumers, especially those aged 18 to 25.”
The new measures, endorsed by Alberto Garzón, Spain’s Minister of Consumer Affairs, will require all Spanish licensed operators to adopt new duty-of-care rules to monitor and record keep ‘risk profiles’ on customers under the age of 25.
Spanish operators will be required to monitor any customer who accumulates a net loss of €600, or €200 if under the age of 25, over a period of three consecutive weeks and should be treated as an ‘at-risk gambler’.
Under the new rules, operators will be required to send a message warning at-risk individuals if potentially harmful behaviour is detected, as well as a monthly summary of their gaming activity. Additionally, users who are in this category will not be able to use credit cards to finance their gambling spend.
Operators will also be barred from sending promotional material to players who are in the ‘vulnerable/at-risk’ category and will also no longer be permitted to include such individuals in VIP programmes. Marketing teams will also not be allowed to send promotions to young people between 18 and 25 if they did not previously interact with the gaming company.
“In other words, they can no longer be offered improved or more advantageous conditions to promote their level of play,” the Ministry explained.
Furthermore, the decree includes additional protections for players who have requested safer gambling restrictions on their gambling accounts or have signed up to the national self-exclusion register – a scheme that will be federally re-launched by Spain’s DGOJ in 2023.
The decree outlines a new regulatory push, with the government continuing to tighten up the country’s gambling laws, including the previous 2020 Royal Decree of Commercial Communications.
Objectives of the decree are to create ‘safer gambling environments’ and protect those who may be susceptible to gambling addiction. As such the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has targeted a drastic reduction in ‘gambling disorders’ cited by addiction welfare clinic EDADES which estimates problem gambling between the ages of 14-to-18 to stand at 3.4%.
The decree is an essential step forward in gambling regulation in Spain. With the proliferation of online gambling, it has become easier for young people and vulnerable individuals to access gambling platforms.
New regulations on product promotions/incentives will require operators to demonstrate that they are ‘minimising the influence of gambling’ as communications must showcase ‘healthy consumption guidelines’ to their customer base.
Betting firms will be further required to establish communications with at-risk players. If there is no reply within 72 hours with a vulnerable player, the business must suspend the account. Younger users will be shown a message stating that “betting at an early age is associated with increased risk of developing unsafe gambling behaviour later in life.”
The decree sets out the government’s commitment to tackling gambling addiction and promoting safe gambling environments in Spain. It is part of a wider campaign aimed at preventing problematic gambling behaviours and promoting responsible gambling.
The Spanish government is also increasing its budget to prevent gambling disorders, increasing it from €1.1m euros to €2.2m. The Ministry has developed different measures to combat cases of gambling addiction, including campaigns to raise awareness of the risks of gambling and compulsive gambling.
Furthermore, the regulation of gambling and betting advertising has been tightened up, and the increase in the budget will allow for the implementation of new measures to create safe environments and avoid problematic consumption.
Should the measures not be complied with, the Ministry of Consumption will proceed to set fines that can amount to up to €50m and could entail the loss of the gaming licence in the most serious cases.
The new regulations represent a significant change in the Spanish gambling industry, putting the responsibility for promoting healthy consumption guidelines and reducing the risk of problem gambling on the operators. The rules also aim to protect vulnerable groups, particularly young people, from the harms associated with gambling.
Spain’s gambling industry has grown significantly in recent years, with online betting increasingly popular among young people. The government is concerned that this trend could lead to an increase in addiction and other associated problems.
The new regulations come as part of a wider push by the government to tackle problem gambling and promote responsible gambling practices. They represent a significant step forward in protecting vulnerable individuals and promoting safer gambling environments in Spain.