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Spain – Spanish gaming association hits back at advertising restrictions

By - 25 October 2018

Industry association The Business Council of Gaming (Cejuego) has defended the gaming industry against a raft of new measures, which could restrict gaming advertising.

New rules now being developed by the government could see major changes to how and when gambling companies may promote their products with reports emerging that the government could even seek a total ban along the lines of tobacco advertising.

However in a press release Cejuego emphasised that while there was an “important” need for regulation over the advertising of online gambling which puts “clear limits” in place it should “be the same for all players in the industry, whether it be public or private.” At the same time, Cejuego emphasised the important role the industry plays in the economy.

According to the statement, the private gaming sector in Spain is already highly regulated with “a high level of self-regulation that serves as a benchmark in Europe, and provides a controlled, legal and legitimate leisure offer.” Meanwhile only 0.3 per cent show signs of gambling addiction while Cejuego aims to reduce this to 0 per cent. The sector already develops, as part of its corporate social responsibility policy, prevention and awareness campaigns aimed at reducing gambling addiction. Both via online gaming and in the land-based sector the participation of minors is prohibited and, in both cases, “all the efforts required by the authorities are put in place so that their participation in this activity is zero.”

Cejuego also argues that gaming is an intrinsic part of the entertainment sector which Spaniards have been enjoying for more than 40 years, since, according to the latest official study of the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ), 75 per cent of the population confirm that they gamble and the vast majority (96.5 per cent) enjoy it naturally, without generating any difficulty.

Cejuego also highlighted the impact of the industry on the industry. “The private gaming industry in Spain is a sector that makes an important economic and social contribution. It contributes to the generation of 2.3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product and generates more than 120,000 direct and indirect jobs, contributing an annual average of more than €1,200 million to the public coffers.”

The organisation also called for a more levelheaded debate on the issue based on the data available and appealed to the government that “the opinions and decisions that are made regarding the sector be based on facts, figures and data, avoiding the use of stereotypes that offer public opinion a distorted and unreal image of the sector, creating social alarm, which in our judgement, is unnecessary.”

There have been a wide number of recent press reports when it comes to the advertising of gambling and a recent agreement with the government and the Podemos Party to restrict gambling advertising in Spain. Crucially for any operator in Spain the agreement now states that the publicity of gambling statewide, explicitly would be treated “in a similar way to that of tobacco products.”

The agreement could mean major changes to how gambling is regulated by the state as it will promote a wide-ranging number of additional player protection measures. It is the first time that a total ban on advertising has been brought up as an option.

Earlier this month it was also revealed that Spain’s Ministry of Finance is now finalising the draft of a decree that could restrict the publicity and advertising of sports betting, with the aim of protecting minors.

The Podemos party now considers gambling addiction to be a health issue due to the increasing size of the local gaming market. Its proposals would directly prohibit the advertising of sportsbooks, prevent gambling halls being close to schools, regulate promotions and would raise taxes on gambling. While the Finance Ministry has rejected raising taxes the new draft, which is now being prepared, would restrict advertising times and promotions.

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