Spain Sanguine On Deposit Limits

April 12, 2023
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The industry remains unusually unperturbed by a planned royal decree in Spain that seeks to make online gambling deposit limits universal, instead of applying per operator, as they do now.

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The industry remains unusually unperturbed by a planned royal decree in Spain that seeks to make online gambling deposit limits universal, instead of applying per operator, as they do now.

The Spanish government has called for feedback regarding a potential modification to Royal Decree 1614/2011, which currently governs deposit limits.

The possible modification to the deposit system will “introduce an economic limit for the total amount of deposits that each participant can make on all gambling accounts associated with user registrations held with any of the operators”.

Under the current system, deposit limits are set for each individual operator.

Spain’s Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ) outlined that the new deposit system would be managed as a single system, and that “operators will have to connect their deposit limit control and management systems”.

However, unlike other royal decrees – such as the one on safer gambling – which have rocked the industry, this latest move was greeted with cautious optimism.

Currently, there is no legislation attached to the royal decree, only a call for public opinion.

“They just want to hear the industry,” said Santiago Asensi, a gaming lawyer and founder of Asensi Abogados, who encouraged the audience at the Gaming in Spain webinar to take advantage of that very opportunity.

The window for feedback is open until April 13. After the consultation, Asensi expects that there will be a published text and another call for feedback.

“Does this royal decree fit with the government's vision of gambling in Spain? I think it does. It doesn’t surprise anyone.

“However, no further comments can be made at this moment because there is no legislative text to comment on. I cannot tell you whether it is good or bad. Right now, the only thing the DGOJ wants is to listen to opinions,” said Asensi.

During the pandemic, Sweden limited deposits on online casinos, but the Swedish Gambling Authority (Spelinspektionen) labelled a nationwide, multi-operator system untenable.

At the time, there were concerns that any centralised register would be public, and would therefore pose a security risk to private information.

Meanwhile, Germany has faced multiple lawsuits over its planned centralised deposit limits, which is still to come into effect despite its presence in law.

The country’s largest bookmaker, Tipico, challenged the €1,000 monthly deposit limit in April 2022, saying at the time that it “significantly interferes with the individual freedom rights of consumers without being able to verifiably increase player protection”.

In Spain’s case, Asensi was circumspect: “I think it's a good idea for those cases where gambling is problematic. In any case, the deposit limits should be established depending on the economic capacity of each individual,” he concluded.

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