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Spain – Momentum builds to restrict online gaming advertising in Spain

By - 27 July 2018

The Compromís Party in Spain has put forward a non-legislative motion in the Congress of Deputies to urge the government of Spain to either prohibit or restrict the advertising of gambling in the media.

The motion comes in parallel to a similar move by the Federation of Consumers in Action (FACUA) to prohibit advertising linked to online betting.

Member of the Compromís Party Joan Baldoví formalised the proposal so that it would be analysed in the Joint Commission for the Study of the Drug Problem and the proposal urges the government to develop “legislation that prioritises the limitation of access and incorporates a message of prevention” in order to prevent an increase in gambling addiction.

The party argues that universal access to new technologies has facilitated the spread of online gambling and is especially dangerous to the “the youngest sector of the population, accustomed to the use of new technologies since childhood.” In addition the party argues that the use of celebrities to advertise online games is being used a “hook to attract a potential audience by dressing it up with social prestige.” Crucially the party also alludes to Italian’s newly proposed blanket ban on advertising. Italy could become the first European country to ban gambling adverts with the ban likely to go into effect at the start of next year.

Meanwhile FACUA has made a request to The Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ) so that advertising of online gambling will be prohibited. For the association, which has a very strong media presence in Spain, the promotion of gambling can lead to a serious risk for the population, especially amongst vulnerable groups such as young people and adolescents, producing a rise in cases of addiction to gambling.

In a statement, FACUA warned that online gaming can become more harmful than land based gaming, “since virtual access facilitates participation and it has less control over the identity of the user, their age and the ownership of the means of payment used.”

As a result, the association believes that it is essential to limit the publicity of online gambling and warned that television advertising for online betting is being broadcast along with content that is of special interest for young people and teenagers, such as major sporting events. In addition, advertising links public figures, especially sports stars that have great influence among the youngest demographic, in affect normalising an activity with a serious risk of addiction.

Changes to gaming advertising look increasingly likely. Earlier this month the Minister of Culture and Sport, José Guirao, expressed his concern regarding the proliferation of internet sports betting and announced that the Executive is now considering revising online gaming laws. “We have to see how far we can go in regulating it,” he said.

Guirao made the comments during his first appearance in the Congress of Deputies, after recognising that the growth of sports betting online had caused “the decline in the performance of the pools” which in turn affected the state’s role in sports.

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