Spain’s Supreme Court overturns portions of gambling ads ban

Jenny Ortiz 2 months ago
Spain’s Supreme Court overturns portions of gambling ads ban

Spain’s Supreme Court has overturned certain aspects of the country’s gambling advertising ban, emphasizing the need to balance restrictions with the rights of legal business activities.  

In its ruling released Wednesday, the court stated that certain elements of the 2020 gambling advertising ban lacked sufficient legal justification, rendering them inapplicable. Notably, promotional activities for new customers, celebrity endorsements, and online advertising prohibitions were invalidated.  

Impact on the industry  

Jdigital, the Spanish operators’ association, hailed the ruling as positive, citing disproportionate limits and restrictions in the previous regulations. The association hopes for dialogue with the government to develop balanced rules ensuring responsible gaming objectives.  

Call for dialogue  

Jdigital aims to contribute its expertise to developing proportionate regulations in collaboration with the government, fostering public-private dialogue to meet industry demands while upholding responsible gaming principles.  

Gaming Intelligence quoted a Jdigital spokesperson saying, “We hope that this resolution will serve to ensure that, in the current legislature, the Government meets the demands of the sector in the regulatory field and encourages public-private dialogue.”  

“We want to offer our knowledge to develop proportionate rules that guarantee the responsible gaming objectives that we all defend and pursue,” the association added.  

Scope of the ban  

The advertising ban, implemented in 2020, restricted gambling broadcast ads to the hours of 1 am to 5 am, and banned shirt and event sponsorships, sign-up bonuses, and the use of celebrities in marketing.  

2021 lawsuit  

In January 2021, Jdigital, the online gambling operator association, and the Asociación de Medios e Información (AMI), a media association, filed an appeal against Royal Decree 958/202 regarding commercial communications of gambling activities.  

The association criticized the rules, suggesting that the restrictions will only fuel the illegal market, thereby jeopardizing efforts to protect vulnerable individuals. They earlier argued that the ban is discriminatory, unfair, and disproportionate, especially in a market where online gambling is tightly regulated and the incidence rate of problematic gambling has remained stable at 0.3% of the population aged 15 to 65 since 2015, one of the lowest rates in Europe. 

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