Optimism and scepticism in equal parts have greeted the General Directorate for Gaming Regulation’s (DGOJ) plan to centralise deposit limits, and although the industry says it was happy to have finally been consulted, the feasibility of implementation raised eyebrows.
The Spanish government called for feedback for a proposed modification to Royal Decree 1614/2011, which would introduce market-wide deposit limits across operators. Currently deposits limits can only be set with operators individually.
The published notification says “the efficiency of the effectiveness of this protection measure will be increased in those participants who have accounts open in several operators”.
“Having deposit limits with several operators, at the end of the day, in practical terms, let's face it, that didn't make any sense,” said Santiago Asensi, gaming expert and lawyer at Asensi Lawyers.
Details on how, exactly, a centralised deposit limit would work have yet to be revealed, however.
Asensi was speaking at the Gaming in Spain Conference last week in Madrid (May 18).
He also expressed his relief that the DGOJ was at least consulting the industry, in a public consultation that closed on April 13.
“Useless? Probably, but let's see how it goes,” said Asensi. “It seems that regarding data protection they are talking directly with the Data Protection Agency. But I think it's a good sign that they decided at least to sit down even if it's just for the picture.”
Data protection is a chief concern, with other nations abandoning plans for centralised limits over concerns that it leaves data vulnerable under public information laws.
Former DGOJ chief regulator Juan Espinosa was less hopeful the scheme could actually work.
“Having been in those shoes, my main concerns would be implementation,” he commented, also voicing concerns that the budgetary requirement of such an endeavour was beyond the means of the DGOJ.
“You need to really devise a powerful system, a reliable system in order to avoid issues, like who's going to be responsible if there's any problems in the scheme? Who is going to be held liable if someone who shouldn't be supposed to [makes] a deposit? And what is he going to do with the money? He will spend it of course. So these implementation issues for me are going to be strong and challenging.”
Current DGOJ boss Mikel Arana insisted that the deposit limit system would remain voluntary under the new scheme for five years, and the results of the public consultation will be coming soon.
“We’re trying to do our best with the deposits. It’s another tool, there must be different tools that we can use and this is one of them. If it was the only one it would probably be no use at all, but it's a compendium of different measures so that we can have a safer gambling space."