Spain’s new gambling advertising regulations

The Spanish government finally published its long-awaited overhaul of gambling advertising regulations aiming to reduce television gambling advertising by as much as 80% and ban companies from hiring celebrities to market gambling products and services.

The regulations have been published as part of a consultation, with the government explaining that it had taken action following a noticeable increase in gambling advertising. Government data shows that online betting by Spaniards has almost tripled between 2014 and 2018 to 17.8 billion euros ($19.2 billion).

Until 16 March industry stakeholders, citizens and other interested parties can submit their comments. After the public consultation the Spanish government will bring their new law.

According to proposed regulations Significant restrictions will be implemented on broadcast advertising, restricting operators to promoting their brands via TV and radio between 1:00AM and 5:00AM. Exceptions will be made for advertising around live sports broadcasts and real-money contests. More specific real-money contests can only be advertised around programming not suitable for those aged 18 or below, and only between 10:00PM and 6:00AM.

Meanwhile, advertising around live sports broadcasts, will be permitted for events that kick off between 8:00PM and 5:00AM. The new proposals also include a ban on marketing that offers the likes of free bets to new customers, which according to the Spanish government lures vulnerable groups into gambling. That said, these ads must not make any reference to promotions or bonuses, or contain direct inducements to bet, such as “play now” or “bet now”. In addition, no information on live odds can be shared in these ads.

According to the new regulations, operators will still be able to strike sponsorship deals with sports teams, though again under strict new conditions. Gambling branding on youth shirts will be banned, while sponsorship of entertainment venues or stadiums is to be prohibited, alongside in-stadium advertising.

Also, operators will no longer be able to use public figures to endorse their products, while ads must also avoid overstating the chances of winning and avoid promoting gambling as a path to financial or social success.

Promotions and bonuses will be capped at €100 for acquisition offers, while free-play games may still be offered. Although these free-play offers will be available only to players logged into a gambling site, and must use the same random number generator as real-money games to avoid giving players unrealistic expectations about their chances of winning.

Advertising on websites will still be allowed, though pop-ups may only be shown to players registered with gambling operators. As with TV and radio, web ads must only appear on sites targeted at adults.

Email ads, meanwhile, can only be sent after checking whether the recipients are listed on Spain’s self-exclusion database, or whether they have been classed as an at-risk player. On social media, ads are restricted to portals that have a filtering solution to avoid targeting minors, while a responsible gambling ad must be shown for every four standard ads.

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