Spain to impose per-session loss limits in new gaming restrictions

| By Conor Mulheir
Spain’s gambling regulator, the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) has opened a consultation on new online gambling rules, which include loss limits for every online casino session and new rules for high-spend players.

It has made the proposal public in order to gather feedback from interested parties, who have until a deadline of 9 August to respond.

The regulations set out a number of requirements and limitations for gaming operators, with a broad range of measures to be introduced into the process of registering and playing with an operator.

For example, for casino games, players must set a time and net spend limit for every session of play before it begins.

These configurations must be entered for each gaming session, and cannot be altered during the session. Further, the values given will not be saved, nor will predetermined values be available, so that the customer must input limits every time they play one of these games.

When setting time and spend limits, customers must also be given the opportunity to temporarily restrict access to future sessions, should the upcoming session automatically end as a result of reaching either of their determined limits.

Any sessions started within 60 minutes of closing the previous session must be accompanied by a different message from the operator, explaining how little time has elapsed since the player’s previous session.

During any casino gaming session, players must receive at least one message every 30 minutes, containing objective information regarding their playing behaviour during the session such as time played, amount wagered or net loss.

There is also a ban on ‘losses disguised as wins’, where a result leading to an eventual net loss can be perceived as a gain by the customer due to the way it is presented. Messages designed to encourage further gambling following a loss, such as ‘you were close!’, are also prohibited.

For betting, customers must set a maximum loss limit for the following 24 hours of betting activity before placing a wager.

Once the maximum loss limit has been reached, players will not be able to modify their limit until 24 hours have elapsed since they set that limit.

In addition, operators must make a monthly summary of play available to each customer, including the number of times they visited the site, deposits made, account history, balance history, and any changes in deposit limits set by the customer.

Customers will be considered ‘intensive players’ if they reach at least 50% of the maximum daily or weekly loss limits set out in Spain’s gambling regulations, in three consecutive time periods. For players under 25, their play will be considered intensive if they reach 25% of the maximum limits in two consecutive time periods.

Any customer who is determined to be an intensive player must, within 24 hours of meeting the threshold to be considered as such, receive a specific and differentiated message which informs them of this.

The message must contain information about the player’s relationship with the games, and must include data such as the amounts deposited, time spent online, accumulated losses, as well as any other information the operator may consider relevant to the particular customer.

These players must receive the monthly play summary that operators will be required to make available to all customers, either via email or any other traceable form of communication.

Intensive players will also be prohibited from using credit cards to fund their gambling accounts.

Other specific measures have been introduced for young players (under 25 years of age). They must receive additional messaging related to the risks of gambling, and are prohibited from being part of schemes for high-value customers or from receiving any type of gift, perk or consideration from operators.

In addition to the proposed regulation around the creation of a safer gambling environment, earlier this week The Plenary of the Gambling Policy Council, chaired by Minister of Consumer Affairs Alberto Garzón Espinosa, approved the terms under which Spain’s autonomous communities will integrate their separately held self-exclusion registers into one centrally-managed register under the DGOJ.

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