Spanish trade group Jdigital has lashed out at the Director General of the Regulation of Gambling’s (DGOJ) Gambling Prevalence Study, using the agency's own data as proof, it says, that the regulator is demonising a “responsible and moderate” gambling industry.
The study shows that just under half of the population gambles, a definition that did not discriminate based on frequency. The average time and money spent per month is four hours and €50 for 84 percent of players.
The organisation called the numbers moderate and “for this reason, we consider that the application of highly restrictive measures and regulations such as those approved in the Royal Safe Gaming Decree are not justified in many cases”.
The decree bans credit card usage for many players and could soon be updated to include mandatory deposit limits.
Other numbers Jdigital pointed to as proof of its point were that online gambling accounts are held by only 6.61 percent of players.
Jdigital said in its report that the DGOJ "boasts about regulating based on science", yet "during the last four years they have been regulating first and presenting data later, which justify their legislation".
The regulations in question include the much discussed advertising regulations that limit broadcast hours.
Patricia Lalanda, a Madrid-based gaming lawyer with Loyra Abogados, commented: “I believe that the Gambling Prevalence Study proves that, in short, Spain has a quite healthy gambling market and what needs to be fixed is probably the diabolic perception by the consumers and the administration.
“Despite the fairly positive numbers provided in the study, both online gambling and land-based regulators are still approving very strict laws and regulations.”
Jdigital also lambasted the lack of regulation for state-owned lotteries, which it claims attract the most problem gamers.
“There is a greater volume of the population that plays lotteries online than any other type of private online gambling and in many cases public gambling escapes the regulations that limit the activity and communications of private gambling,” the trade group said.
Finally, Jdigital conceded that it was concerned by the numbers published in the report that indicated that 43 percent of players gambled for financial motivations, insisting instead that gambling should be for fun and that the information was alarming.
The organisation also expressed doubt at the low numbers that were published for the illegal gambling sector, “taking into account the high number of websites that close each year”.