Alberto Garzón, Spain’s Consumer Affairs Minister who has been tasked with overseeing the federal reform of Spanish gambling laws, said there will be no backtrack from the government on the recently enforced Royal Decree on Advertising.
Garzón made his statement after being questioned on Spanish football’s imminent funding crisis by sports radio broadcaster Onda Cero.
Last week, La Liga President Javier Tebas disclosed that Spanish football was ‘reckoning with its biggest crisis’ as all La Liga clubs required urgent financial relief to secure their seasons.
Tebas urged the government to revise the terms of the recently imposed Royal Decree on Advertising, which will impose a blanket ban on football betting sponsorships and partnerships. The ban will cost La Liga clubs a reported €90 million in lost revenues.
La Liga’s President acknowledged that Spain required new laws on advertising, but reiterated the league’s stance that “sponsorship by bookmakers should be regulated instead of being prohibited”.
Garzón responded by stating that his department had granted a ‘one season amnesty’ to Spanish football clubs which will allow them to finish existing sponsorships with bookmakers – a concession that had not been extended to Spain’s advertising and broadcast sectors.
Garzón reminded audiences that the Royal Decree had received cross-party support across Spain’s autonomous communities, in which a federal order could not be reversed by La Liga’s demands.
Onda Cero questioned Garzón on whether state-owned lotteries ONCE and SELAE had taken advantage of market conditions by targeting sports networks with advertising of their Christmas draws, having also secured new football league partnerships. He replied that betting advertising had been ‘more prevalent and dangerous to consumers than state lotteries’.
Garzón added that the Consumer Affairs Ministry held no oversight on how state-run lotteries should advertise their products and services, for which the seasonal period has always seen the promotion of ‘El Gordo’ and ‘El Nino’ lotteries.