Spanish Lawyers Label Royal Decree Disproportionate

March 31, 2023
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Legal experts in Spain have said that the recent Royal Decree on Safer Gambling is disproportionate to the rates of problem gambling in the country.

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Legal experts in Spain have said that the recent Royal Decree on Safer Gambling is disproportionate to the rates of problem gambling in the country.

That decree takes aim at the 18 to 25 age group, as well as what has been termed “intensive gamblers”. Both groups will be protected from obtaining VIP status, certain promotions and will be subject to limitations on credit card use.

Any player who loses more than €600 in three weeks will not be able to use a credit card and will not receive any more marketing messages, that number changes to €200 for 18 to 25 year-olds.

“There is no reason for these regulations because Spain is one of the safest and the most secure online gambling markets in Europe. Only 0.3 percent of the population are considered problem gamblers,” said Jorge Hinojosa, general director of the trade association JDigitial, speaking on a recent Gaming in Spain webinar.

Santiago Asensi, managing partner at law firm Asensi Abogados, claimed that the decree was unfairly impactful on the online industry.

“You don't enter into a casino and someone is following you to tell you how much you should spend and to give you a report of how much you have, et cetera, et cetera. So it's not consistent, first of all, and it's not proportional because measures should be adopted in relation to the problem,” he said, referencing the 0.3 percent statistic.

Asensi also questioned the governance of gambling in general in Spain as of late, given the organisations that oversee it. “The first question we should ask ourselves perhaps, is who's in charge?” said Asensi.

“When this government started this mandate, the first thing that they did, one of the very first measures that they adopted, was moving gambling from the oversight of the Ministry of Finance to Consumer Affairs.

“Then they appointed someone from the Socialist Party, from the radical left, they put someone from the radical left in charge of one of the businesses with the most capitalist profile,” he complained.

More tough measures could be on the horizon for Spain.

A public consultation will be open until April 13 on operator deposit limits, which Asensi encouraged the audience to take advantage of to make their views known.

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