Spain Approves Addiction, Fraud Safeguarding Bill

September 16, 2022
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The Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill to modify the gambling regulation law in Spain by improving protections against fraud and safeguards for vulnerable gamblers, and it will now move on to the Senate for debate.

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The Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill to modify the gambling regulation law (No. 13/2021) in Spain by improving protections against fraud and safeguards for vulnerable gamblers, and it will now move on to the Senate for debate.

The bill was passed with 200 votes in favour, 0 against, and 148 abstentions. It was first announced in March in the Health and Consumer Affairs Commission, during a discussion of concerns regarding addiction.

In June, that same commission approved the bill, and in July it was published in the official gazette along with new amendments.

The original approved text remains the same as the one approved by the Health and Consumer Affairs Commission in June.

Additions to the text include an article regulating advertising, another section defining the functions of the National Gaming Commission’s duty to protect at-risk gamers, provisions that add guidelines for using non-fungible tokens (NFTs) safely, and a safeguarding mechanism in the form of the Global Betting Market Investigation Service.

In a press release, the Chamber of Deputies said the bill is "very important" as it aims to improve safeguards for underage and vulnerable players, as well as to prevent addictive behaviours.

However, Santiago Asensi, a gaming lawyer and the founding partner of Asensi Abogados, said it is business as usual for operators.

“I think the only issue that was raised is that the Director General of the Regulation of Gambling (DJOG) is going to have higher powers. But in terms of operators, what they can do, what they cannot do, there is no real impact.”

Meanwhile, the Spanish Association of Digital Gaming (JDigital) has released a report in response to the DJOG’s latest figures accounting for the second quarter of 2022.

Gross gaming revenue decreased 0.29 percent compared with the same quarter last year, with a year-on-year decrease of 5.55 percent. New gaming accounts per month are down 25.99 percent annually.

JDigital director Jorge Hinojosa said in the release: “The latest results made public by the DGOJ are devastating. The online gaming ecosystem in our country is losing attractiveness for operators due to the high restrictions it is experiencing.”

Or, as Santiago Asensi said: "They are trying to kill the industry.”

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