Spain’s iGaming Market Set To Get More Stringent As More Restrictions Planned
Spain’s online gambling market has done well in the last year as more Spaniards have turned their attention towards online casino sites. A poll from 2017-2018 showed that 3.5 percent of Spain’s population played online casino games. This number nearly doubled and reached 6.7 percent in 2020.
One of the main reasons for Spain’s spike in online casino traffic is due to COVID-19. With land based casinos shutting down and Spain going into an extended lockdown, Spaniards turned online for entertainment and online casino games was one of their main pastimes.
Spain’s government has recognized the increase in online casino traffic and is keen on protecting players from being exploited by gambling operators and offering them better protection against gambling harm. A draft Royal Decree with more stringent gaming laws has been put together in this regard.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has confirmed that it will launch a public consultation process of the new decree to get the feedback of Spaniards. Should the draft decree get a majority vote, his department will then focus on implementing all of these changes in 2021.
Alberto Garzón, who is the Ministry of Consumer Affairs said that the new draft decree looks at different aspects which include higher standards for gaming operators, intervention, operating controls, self-exclusion programs, problem gambling awareness and treatment for gambling addicts.
The draft decree was prepared by taking the input of a number of stakeholders including the Responsible Gambling Advisory Council which has a wide variety of members consisting of legal representatives, civil servants, academics and gambling representatives.
Gambling Operators Not Happy With Decree
Some of the gambling stakeholders involved in the new draft decree process includes members from the Sociedad Estatal Loterías y Apuestas del Estado (SELAE) and national lotteries Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles (ONCE). Top gambling brands in the industry such as Playtech, Luckia and Tombola also had representatives present.
Jdigital which is the trade group for gambling operators claimed that these proposed draft regulations were not required and were way too stringent. Jdigital argued that there was not enough data to show that these new restrictions were essential.
Gambling operators have sent out a warning to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs claiming that imposing such stringent regulations on Spain’s online gambling industry will push Spaniards to unlicensed and rogue online casinos and expose them to greater harm.