‘Royal Decree’ approved to deliver
a new era of Spanish gambling

A new era for Spanish gambling has begun after Spain’s Council of Ministers approved the passing of the ‘Royal Decree on Advertising’.

Under the new federal law, Spain’s gambling advertisements, excluding ONCE and SELAE lotteries, will need to apply a ‘night time window of 1-5am’ across all traditional media. 

Furthermore, Spanish licensed operators must ensure that all digital and social media adverts include age restriction filters which must be approved by audiences before viewing. 

Alberto Garzón, consumer affairs minister, who drafted the decree amendments, said: “Investments in gambling advertising have extraordinarily exploded in recent years, they’ve flooded the media and our daily lives.

“With the Royal Decree, we respond to a need and the social alarm that has been generated in recent years, the political sector needed to answer [that]. It puts the necessary measures on the table, following scientific evidence.

“As we face this phenomenon, we answer with this Royal Decree that we approve this morning, and we aim to defend public health, protect vulnerable groups such as minors, the youth and people with certain pathological behaviours that can be developed as a result of the intensive practice of these activities.”

In regards to the 1am to 5am exemption, he added: “Even so, the messages will have to be highly restricted to a series of elements included in the law so that they cannot encourage gambling. It will be impossible to see gambling advertisements in these media channels.

“We’ll also ban advertising on the internet, social networks and online outlets. This also applies to sports events, and from the moment it comes into force, it won’t be possible for them to keep advertising.”

Moreover, gambling promotions and content will not be able to feature any sports athletes (active or retired) or celebrity endorsements while welcome bonuses will be restricted to a single offer capped at €100.

Meanwhile, Spanish football clubs have been given until the end of the current football season to make sure gambling sponsorships and partnership are concluded.

Upon signing today’s decree into federal law, Garzon is reported to have issued a letter to Spain’s 25 football clubs across La Liga and lower divisions maintaining betting partnerships.

Garzon underlined that club owners must ensure that all betting partnerships are terminated by the end of the 2020/2021 football season (June 2021), with the clubs fulfilling their duties as key stakeholders of the Decree.

Izquierda Unida, Garzón’s political party, commented: “Modifying the Lotería del Estado or ONCE requires the modification of the Gambling Law, which also requires a legislative process that could take several years. The Royal Decree acts within the allowed framework, it can’t modify the law. They are different procedures, we have to take little steps.”

Today’s announcement concludes a year-long wait for the Royal Decree to receive its federal passage, with operators having been informed of drastic changes to advertising codes last year ahead of Spain’s third consecutive General Election.