Spain approves Royal Advertising Decree into federal law 

This morning’s sitting of Spain’s Council of Ministers has approved the formal passing of the ‘Royal Decree on Advertising’ ushering in a new era for Spanish gambling. 

Enforced as a federal law, Spain’s autonomous communities will apply a ‘night time window of 1-5 am’ in which gambling advertising (excluding ONCE and SELAE lotteries) will be allowed to be broadcast across traditional media.

Spanish licensed operators must ensure that all digital and social media adverts feature ‘age restriction filters’ to be approved by audiences before viewing.

Gambling promotions and content will not be able to feature any sports athletes (active or retired) or celebrity endorsements. Welcome bonuses, meanwhile, will be restricted to a single offer capped at €100.

All Spanish autonomous communities must adhere to promoting uniformed gambling standards on under-18s restrictions, safer gambling protections and social responsibility messaging established by the DGOJ.

Meanwhile, Spanish football clubs have been given until the end of the current football season, in which they must ensure that all gambling sponsorships and partnerships are concluded.

This morning’s announcement concludes a year-long wait for the Royal Decree to receive its federal passage, with operators having been informed of drastic changes to advertising codes last year ahead of Spain’s third consecutive General Election.

Formally approved by the government at the start of 2020, the passage of the Royal Decree was stalled as minority coalition partner Podemos demanded last-minute amendments to be written into its content.

Decree amendments were drafted by Alberto Garzon, Spain’s new Consumer Affairs Minister charged with undertaking a sweeping federal reform of Spanish gambling laws. He was instructed that Spain should hold the strictest requirements on gambling advertising alongside Italy.

Upon signing today’s decree into federal law, Garzon is reported to have issued a letter to Spain’s 25 football clubs across La Liga and lower divisions maintaining betting partnerships.

Garzon underlined that club owners must ensure that all betting partnerships are terminated by the end of the 2020/2021 football season (June 2021), with the clubs fulfilling their duties as key stakeholders of the Decree.

Last week, Brussels based igaming trade body The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) warned the Spanish government that the Royal Decree would be in direct conflict with EU laws on fair competition and state subsidies as it allowed state-run ONCE and SELAE lotteries to continue advertising.

The DGOJ and Spain’s Consumer Affairs Ministry have maintained that Spanish gambling laws have always held ‘exclusive distinctions’ for ONCE and SELAE as not-for-profit companies that should be exempt from standard business practices.

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