Spain’s gambling regulator has fined operators more than €71m in the first half of 2023 and while big penalties were reserved for the black market, licensed companies including the units of Codere, William Hill and Entain have also received fines this year.
The Directorate General of Gambling Regulation (DGOJ) has published the 30 enforcement actions it took in the first half of this year, observing its usual tradition of releasing bulk updates on fines it has issued in the past six months.
In partnership with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the regulator has published full details of all 30 decisions, which encompass all those classified as “serious” or “very serious”.
Most of the large fines were set at around the €5m mark, the regulator said, and were overwhelmingly targeted at companies with links to Curacao.
More than €70m of the total penalties issued were drawn from this contingent of “very serious” infractions. Regulators have traditionally struggled to recover money from offshore companies in jurisdictions like Curacao.
Meanwhile, the list of 15 “serious” compliance failures amounted to only €1,333,000 in fines, although it included several household names from international gambling.
Entain's Electraworks unit, based in the Spanish-controlled African region of Ceuta, was found to have allowed 11 self-excluded players to deposit on its platform due to a technical error, although it later returned the money. The company was fined €210,000 as a result.
Codere Online was handed a €125,000 fine for failing to meet technical requirements, however, the penalty was reduced to €75,000.
Malta-based WHG Spain, which operates the William Hill website in the country, was fined €125,000 for breaching technical requirements, including allowing two players to deposit more money than they had set as their limit. The operator met a range of criteria to have the fine reduced to €75,000.
MarathonBet was penalised for not getting proper approvals to offer live roulette games provided by Evolution. Its initial penalty of €100,000 was reduced to €60,000 by the regulator.
Malta-based Skill On Net has been handed a €175,000 penalty for allowing players to deposit more money than their self-set limits during slot machine sessions. The penalty was reduced to €105,000.
Skill On Net was fined £305,150 by the UK Gambling Commission in May 2023 for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures.
Additional reporting by Harrison Sayers