Spain’s gambling sector is set for new restrictions after the country’s coalition government unveiled its plans for the new year.
The coalition government of parties PSOE and Unidos Podemos have revealed a complete programme for 2020, including ‘urgent regulation of gambling to prevent and curb gambling’.
The coalition sets out six specific actions designed to achieve its target, including a regulation of the advertising of gambling and online gambling at the state level and “similar to that of tobacco products”. In 2005, Spain introduced regulations that prohibit tobacco products from sponsorship deals, as well as restrictions on advertising and promotion in the media.
The government said it will introduce measures designed to reinforce the player's self-awareness with the aim of encouraging “healthy consumption practices and to prevent, anticipate or identify the generation of problematic game patterns”.
It also said it would work with regions to prevent gambling establishments from opening before 10pm and limit their proximity to schools. Gambling venues will be obliged to display a sign about the dangers of gambling at their entrances, similar to the warnings shown on cigarette packets.
Administration fees collected by the government will be allocated towards “preventive, awareness, intervention and control initiatives, as well as to repair the negative effects produced by the game activity”.
The government also said operators would be made to play their part in reducing problem gambling.
It said: “We will promote the involvement of gambling and betting operators in the development of information, prevention, sensitisation and reparation actions for possible undesirable effects derived from gambling activity.”
When plans for severe restrictions on advertising were discussed in 2018, trade group CeJuego’s director general Alejandro Landaluce said the changes “reflect a lack of knowledge about the sector”.
Landaluce – whose group represents the likes of Cirsa, Codere and R. Franco – said Spain is “one of the countries with the lowest rate of problem gambling in the world”, with a rate of just 0.3%. He added that some 18% of young Spaniards are addicted to the internet while 7% of the adult population is “addicted to compulsive shopping”.
In December, Spain’s regulated online gaming market reported a 5.4% year-on-year increase in gross gaming revenue for the third quarter of 2019, with the growth of online casino again supported by the recovery of the sports betting vertical.