Spanish Online Gambling Operators Face New Limitations

Online gambling operators in Spain are facing new limitations on customer bonus offers, while problem gamblers are getting new ways of blocking themselves from gaining money to play with.

Spain’s consumer affairs minister, Alberto Garzón, unveiled plans for new restrictions on the country’s online gambling operators on Monday, using promotional campaigns featuring “economic bonuses” as a means to acquire new customers and retain existing customers.

Garzón said that the’ commercial strategy’ of offering incentives to consumers has’ proven to be controversial’ because, in addition to’ expanding the number of users and amounts played,’ it also’ attracts minors and people with health problems who need to stop gambling.’ Garzón said that the new restrictions would be integrated into the Royal Decree Program, a set of new rules for online gambling. The government has already revealed elements of this decree, including restricting advertising for online gambling to a four-hour window starting at 1 am.

In response to Garzón’s announcement, Jdigital, the lobby group for the Spanish online gambling industry, issued a statement stating that this ship had effectively already sailed. Last month, leaders of Jdigital began to enforce a new voluntary advertising code, restricting welcome bonus rewards to a maximum of € 200, while these deals can only be included in ads that fall outside child-friendly broadcast hours.

Nonetheless, the government also unveiled EFICAZ on Monday, a new programme designed to prevent problem gamblers from accessing alternative online funding to fund their wagering activities. Essentially, it is a list of self-exclusion from online credit sources that have agreed to take part in the programme.

It should be noted that Spain has one of Europe’s lowest problem gambling rates, with recent surveys pegging the figure at only around 0.4%. Spain’s beleaguered online gambling market also received a recent support display from Javier Molinera, who heads up the National Police’s Gaming and Betting Control Service. Molinera told local media outlet EFE that contrary to the popular conception,  gambling does not cause the police any major social issues.