Royal Advertising Decree Passed Into Spanish Federal Law

The meeting of the Council of Ministers of Spain this morning approved the formal passing of the ‘Royal Decree on Advertising’ which ushered in a new era for Spanish gambling.

Enforced as a federal rule, a ‘night time window of 1-5 am’ will be applied by Spain’s autonomous communities in which gambling ads (excluding ONCE and SELAE lotteries) will be allowed to be transmitted by conventional media.

Spanish licenced operators must ensure that before viewing, all digital and social media advertising feature ‘age limitation filters’ to be accepted by audiences.

No sports celebrities (active or retired) or celebrity endorsements would be eligible to feature gambling promotions and content. Meanwhile, welcome incentives will be limited to a single offer capped at € 100.

All Spanish autonomous communities must comply with the promotion of universal gambling criteria set by the DGOJ on restrictions for under-18s, safer gambling protections and social responsibility messaging.

Meanwhile, before the end of the current football season, Spanish football clubs have been given the opportunity to ensure that all gambling sponsorships and agreements are concluded.

The announcement this morning ends a year-long wait for the Royal Decree to receive its federal passage, with operators having been informed last year before Spain’s third consecutive General Election of significant improvements to advertisement codes.

The passage of the Royal Decree, officially approved by the government at the beginning of 2020, was delayed as minority coalition member Podemos requested last-minute changes to be written into its substance.

Decree changes were drawn up by Alberto Garzon, Spain ‘s new Minister of Consumer Affairs, to implement a sweeping federal overhaul of Spanish gaming legislation. He was told that Spain, alongside Italy, could uphold the strictest standards for gambling ads.

Garzon is said to have sent a letter to Spain’s 25 football clubs in La Liga and lower divisions retaining betting relationships upon signing today ‘s decree into federal law.

Garzon stressed that club owners must ensure that by the end of the 2020/2021 football season (June 2021) all betting partnerships are terminated, with the clubs performing their duties as main stakeholders of the Decree.

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) in Brussels last week warned the Spanish government that the Royal Decree would be in direct conflict with EU fair competition laws and state subsidies as it allowed ONCE and SELAE state-run lotteries to continue advertising.

The DGOJ and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs of Spain maintained that ‘exclusive distinctions’ were still kept by Spanish gaming laws for ONCE and SELAE as non-profit entities that should be excluded from normal business practises.