A new set of advertising guidelines for private gambling operators in Spain has caught the attention of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA). According to the statement sent by the EGBA to the Spanish Consumer Affairs Ministry, new regulations are in violation of the EU laws regulating these activities.
The latest changes pertaining to private gambling companies in Spain have set a series of very strict limitations on advertising activities. Private operators are forbidden from sponsoring any sports organizations and their ads on TV and radio can only be broadcast in the middle of the night, between 1am and 5am.
Discriminatory Measures Uncalled For
The decision by the Spanish Government is aimed at tackling problem gambling in the country through responsible advertising practices. However, there is evidence that Spain is trying to handle a problem that doesn’t really exist.
According to the research conducted by the University of Madrid, only 0.3% of all Spaniards involved in the gambling activities could be classified as problem gamblers. This is, in fact, one of the lowest rates in the world.
At the same time, new advertising guidelines are only aimed at private entities, many of which facilitate playing free blackjack online in Spanish. Two state-run lotteries are exempt from the rules, even though just one of them (ONCE) accounts for 34% of all gambling advertising activities in the country.
The EGBA Calling for Revisions
Given the fact that new measures aren’t supported by the evidence as well as being discriminatory against private companies, the EGBA as well as some entities in the country have urged the government to reconsider its position.
According to the EGBA, new advertising guidelines are in conflict with the European Union laws as they clearly favor state-run operators while causing serious damage to private entities.
Jdigital, the Spanish operator association, joined the criticism and emphasized that these restrictions could have effects that are opposite to what the government is trying to achieve. The association believes that this will only lead to a spike in illegal and unregulated gambling activities, causing harm to the most vulnerable.
Jdigital has further explained its position that they don’t support the idea that there is good and bad gambling, as the government is seemingly trying to show by the latest decision. In their opinion, all forms of gambling should be viewed as legitimate leisure options that are to be approached in a responsible manner.
Requesting a More Balanced & Data-driven Approach
Both organizations, the EGBA and Jdigital, agree that the government should take a more balanced approach that’s backed up by the actual data. As the official numbers stand right now, Jdigital sees the latest Royal Decree as discriminatory, disproportionate, and unfair.
In the meantime, state-run lotteries continue to increase their advertising budgets and show little regard for marketing guidelines. ONCE has continued to advertise during children hours and their ads still convey the idea of winning the life-changing money.
All of this creates an image that decisions by the Council of Ministers are driven not by the desire to protect the consumers but other ideological issues that discriminate against private operators.