In an effort to support intensive gambling behaviour, Spain is proposing an overhaul to the gambling legislation with a view to create a safer environment and provide gamblers with more protection, with a particular focus on young and vulnerable categories. Reforms are being proposed to the Gambling Act of 2020.
Regulators are highlighting the necessity of introducing a new law to minimize the risks caused by problem gambling especially in the 18 – 25 age group. Gambling advertising will also be addressed. Within this age group, any gamblers who loose between €200 and €600 will be classified as vulnerable players. A new credit ban will be applied and ‘means of income testing’ will be more vigilant. Gaming operators will be prohibited from targeting people who fall in this category with any kind of promotions.
It is being proposed that gambling operators will be obliged to explain the risks of gambling to younger players. Operators that fail to do so will be subject to heavy fines and loss of their licence. The penalties start at €1 million and can go all the way up to €50 million. Details of the reforms will be published in the Official State Gazette six months before the laws come into force to allow gaming companies some time to prepare.
The Spanish online operator association JDigital was critical of the new changes, as Spain already has one of the strictest regulatory regimes in the EU. The lobbying group said that the measures are excessive and do little to protect vulnerable categories.
GGR increase reported
Although operators expressed their dissatisfaction with the current direction in the new law proposals, gross gambling revenue (GGR) in Spain increased by 78.2 percent year-on-year (YoY) during the fourth quarter of 2022, driven by growth in sports betting. For the three-month period, GGR amounted to €310.24 million, which was also 27.1 percent higher than the same quarter YoY. Sports betting GGR amounted an increase of 223.4 per cent on the previous year. The DGOJ (Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling in Spain) noted a 108.5 percent jump (quarter-on-quarter) in pre-match bets and a 13.8 percent increase in in-play wagers. Other revenues were up 86.8 percent with horse betting up by 63.6 percent. GGR for casino was 32.4 percent higher. Poker GGR was 26.8 percent higher year-on-year at €26.1m, representing 8.3 percent of the total market, although bingo GGR fell 11.5 percent to €3.6 million and contest revenue also declined by 36.7 percent to €30,000.
78 active licensed operators
Monthly average active game accounts in Spain total to around 1,185,000, up 22.9 percent YoY. Monthly average new game accounts are up by nearly 22mpercent. There are 78 licensed operators active in Spain including 54 casino operators, 45 for slot machines, nine for poker and five for bingo.