Jdigital urges rethink over Spanish gambling advertising restrictions

Spain’s Royal Decree on the Commercial Communications of Gambling Activities entered into force in November 2020, banning sponsorship deals with operators, with the aim of reducing minors’ exposure to gambling ads.

Advertising on TV and radio is also now restricted to the hours of 1am to 5am, a measure that extends to videos on YouTube, while across other social channels, operators are only permitted to share ads with their followers. 

Age gating must be used online to help reduce minors’ exposure to gambling, and while promotional bonuses are prohibited, operators are able to target registered and verified customers with special offers.

JDigital and media association la Asociación de Medios e Información (AMI) both submitted appeals to the country’s Supreme Court, challenging the advertising regulations. 

While the AMI appeal was not successful, the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court in May this year raised a question of unconstitutionality in relation to the restrictions.

In response, Jdigital has now said the Supreme Court’s decision emphasises the need for a rethink over the restrictions and is urging the government to discuss the matter with the igaming industry.

“The Supreme Court’s decision reinforces Jdigital’s claims that the rules governing online gambling advertising in Spain infringe on the freedom of enterprise and unjustifiably harm the main players, the licensed operators, in this legal and regulated activity,” Jdigital said.

“More than a year after Jdigital filed the administrative appeal against the regulation, the Association is convinced that it has taken the right steps to preserve and protect the interests of the sector and its users.

“The current scenario makes it more necessary than ever for the regulator and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to open a window of dialogue with the online gambling ecosystem to study fair and proportionate legislative ways that are in line with the reality of the sector and do not harm operators and related industries.”

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