In creating a ‘interconnected self-exclusion registry’ covering all forms of gambling (land-based and digital), the regional governments of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities have agreed to cooperate.
The decision follows a meeting of the ‘Gambling Policy Council’ of Spain, headed by Alberto Garzón, the Minister of Consumer Affairs.
A majority supported the establishment of a central gambling self-exclusion system, with the government of Catalonia voting against the plan, while the Basque Country and the province of Valencia abstained from taking a vote.
The plan put forward by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs of Spain has the further backing of the autonomous Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa, which aim to implement the system as a licencing prerequisite to join their online gambling hubs.
The Gambling Policy Council, despite agreeing to cooperate, has yet to identify key principles and criteria that will have to be implemented by each autonomous region in order to operate the self-exclusion scheme effectively.
Subsequent to the agreement, autonomous members will have four months to approve and complete the technical structure for the conditions of self-exclusion to be put forward by the central government of Spain as a federal decree.
Following the implementation of the Royal Decree on Ads this October, the creation of a central self-exclusion scheme was assigned as a primary ‘stage-2 goal’ of Alberto Garzon’s reform of Spanish gambling laws.
The online gaming association JDigital welcomed the new ruling, which it regarded as “an important advance in the protection of players,” adding that its members “had always been in favour of creating such measures.”
JDigital, welcoming the new decision, said it would help the government in the implementation of the measures: “We also make ourselves available to the Government to offer our collaboration and knowledge about the operation of this industry in order to define and implement the measures that can protect gamblers in the most efficient way.”
JDigital has reported that all its members are linked to the RGIAJ, enabling them to identify in real time when a self-excluded user tries to access and prevent their registration on one of their platforms.
The declaration added: “From Jdigital, we would like to value the commitment of operators to responsible gambling. It shows that online gaming operators licensed in Spain have their own control mechanisms to prevent or limit access to their platforms to those who suffer from addiction or can develop problematic behaviours.
“Finally, we reiterate that we are fully in favour of promoting fair, equitable and proportionate regulation to the reality of gambling in Spain, where the incidence of gambling in Spain remains stable in 0.3 percent of the population between 15 and 65 years since 2015, as indicated by the National Drug Plan.”
The Spanish government has cracked down on the gambling industry in recent months, calling for additional player safety measures to be enforced, including a ban on sponsorships for gambling, restrictions on advertisements and the prohibition of the use of betting credit cards.
The government informed the European Commission in July of its intention to adopt these measures. In reply, Jdigital sent to the European Commission a ‘compendium of claims’ pointing out that the implementation of the draught Royal Decree was in violation of EU business practise law and fair market arrangements.