Consumer Group Criticise Spanish Gambling Reforms

The battle over gambling advertising in the Spanish sector has continued this week, with another group criticising the government’s proposals, saying that they don’t go far enough.

It is expected that the country’s Royal Decree on Advertising will cut gambling advertising by as much as 80%, due to a series of measures. The coalition government, made up of the Podemos and PSOE parties, has been signalling its intentions for several months, amid concerns that the betting sector was reaching young audiences with its messages. The fact that the Spanish gambling industry has been recording dramatically increased profits, up to $19.2 billion in 2018, has also been a factor.

But the release of some of the government’s main proposals this week has not been well received by some campaigning groups, including the consumer rights organisation FACUA. They have expressed disappointment that the government is not proposing a more stringent advertising ban.

In the past, FACUA has said that allowing betting adverts during football matches was irresponsible, and they have also claimed that as many as 90% of consumers would be in favour of a complete ban on all advertising and sponsorship in sport from bookmakers and casinos.

But speaking about a total ban, the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzon, who is leading the legislative effort on betting sponsorship, said that it could be counter-productive, and could lead to a growth in the illegal betting market:

“If we generate incentives for companies to go to the illegal world because they no longer have advantages in the legal world, we are likely to be pushing people who need protection to an illegal world where there is no protection.”

Among the proposals from the Spanish government are an advertising ban for all gambling promotions before 20:00 while the advertising of online betting will be restricted to the 01:00 to 05:00 time slot. Betting firms will also be banned from sponsoring team names and stadia.

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