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Spain – DGOJ calls for discussion ahead of online gaming modifications

By - 8 March 2018

The Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ) has initiated the preliminary public consultation for the modifications that regulate all forms of online gambling.

According to the DGOJ, the aim of the consultation is to apply the right modifications to ministerial decrees when it comes to the context of the online gaming market. Decrees will be put in place in order to improve player protection measures, look at ways to protect minors, strengthen measures against fraud, money laundering and other criminal activities and enhance the online gaming marketplace. The new decrees also seek to put in place player protection measures for online gaming which were not present when the government first opened up the market in 2011 and will cover new modes of play that were not present either.

The discussion will also look at mechanisms to strengthen the prevention and fight against fraud within the framework of sports betting or other events such as e-sports. It will also be used to clarify the different types of gaming that can be offered under different licenses. At the same time, the decrees will also address and systematise the framework under which certain games would be commercialized when the regulatory framework is not currently satisfactory. These will include new games such as daily fantasy sports and bets on virtual sports or games played via live casino other than roulette. It will also simplify certain requirements relating to new modes of play for already existing games.

According to the DGOJ press release, the discussion is also necessary due to the innovative nature of the online gaming market in Spain. The regulatory framework must be sufficiently “agile” so that it can be adapted to face both the current as well as the future reality of the gaming market. This according to the statement is vital as in December 2017 the DGOJ published a resolution approving the procedure for the application and granting of new online gambling licenses in Spain.
In September, the DGOJ announced that it would soon begin to grant more licences and would begin to evaluate applications from operators in the near future. According to the new regulations published on December 12th operators will be given a year to submit their applications in order to facilitate the entry of more companies into the growing online gaming sector while current operators will be allowed to expand their scope of activity.

A number of outcomes could be the result of the discussion. In the case that no modifications are made ministerial orders would be maximised in their current context. However, the DGOJ’s position is that it is now the right time to address gaming law in the context of ministerial decrees. Any postponement could mean that the window for requesting general licenses may be closed for several years as potential applicants would not be able to fully anticipate the implications of accessing the online gaming market at this time.

In December President and founder of online gaming association Jdigital Sacha Michaud said that around ten new operators are expected to enter the online market now that the DGOJ has published the resolution. According to Jdigital, these “will be added to the 52 that already exist in the Spanish market.”

Mr. Michaud explained that “the entry of new operators will mean a greater investment in the market; we estimate an additional €20m during the next 12 months.”

In Spain, a ministerial decree is a regulation issued by any of the government ministries. Ministerial decrees are produced not only by ministers in affairs relating to their own departments, but also by delegate commissions formed to deal with matters that affect several ministries.

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