Online gambling in Spain has been increasing at a rapid pace. It increased by about 22.5 per cent in 2018 to hit the $850 mark. The uptrend continued and the industry grew about 7.1 per cent in 2019 to reach the impressive mark of $910 million. However, it looks like things are about to change.
The country’s online gambling operators are worried due to recent changes that prohibit operators from running certain promotional campaigns including welcome bonuses and football shirt sponsorship offers.
Here is a guide to what’s happening – could this be something we see in the UK next?
More About the New Happenings
Spain’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs made the announcement on Thursday. The Ministry submitted the updated draft of its Royal Decree on gambling advertising for approval to the European Commission.
Rumors about such changes have been doing rounds for a while. The Ministry had intimated its intention to change laws and impose limits on gambling. This isn’t the first time that the gambling industry has to face limitations.
There were several restrictions before the pandemic that were removed to encourage more players to gamble. However, these new changes are stricter than the previous limits.
What Does the Statement Say?
According to the new document, which is in Spanish, gambling operators’ “sponsorship of sports kits or jerseys will not be admissible.”
The draft further seeks to prevent betting operators from inking naming rights contracts for sports leagues, competitions, and venues. Moreover, pitch-side gambling advertising may also take a hit as this decision is left on individual states.
The new proposal maintains several aspects of the previous draft including limits on when gambling promos can be aired on radio, online streaming platforms, and TV.
The time limit stands at 1am to 5am; however, the new draft removes the previously-approved carveout for promotions during live sports.
What Does This Mean?
While we’re not yet sure about the kind of impact such changes will have on the industry, it goes without saying that these proposed limits would have a great impact on Spain’s top football organization, La Liga.
The organization has a major betting partnership with Sportium. It’s common for clubs in Spain to feature gambling agencies as their sponsor. Some also have unique partnership agreements with gambling agencies. These deals benefit all the parties but these proposed changes may bring a halt to these partnerships.
The country’s looking at eliminating the concept of ‘welcome bonus’. Experts argue that this will discourage new players from trying their hands at gambling.
Moreover, there are going to be limits on other bonuses as well. These offers will only be for customers or players who meet the following requirements:
- Have made at least three deposits
- Have been a member for at least a month
Previously, the Ministry had proposed to put a ‘$120 maximum cap’ on all bonuses. However, according to the latest draft, the regulator may choose to “develop the conditions and limits” as it deems suitable.
Are There Exceptions?
Yes, there are.
The SELAE lottery business is exempt. It will have the option to continue to promote its brand. However, it must make sure to avoid mentioning specific products.
What’s Going to Happen Next?
Rumors suggest the Ministry is trying to have these restrictions get approved before the next La Liga season, but that may be a little troublesome due to it being a long road.
The draft must get approved by the European Commission and the country’s Council of Ministers. Considering how negatively it has been received, there will be immense pressure from the gambling sector and sports bodies to reconsider it.