Spain’s Gambling Reform Bill Tweaked as Industry Evolves

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Posted on: July 8, 2022, 07:20h. 

Last updated on: July 8, 2022, 07:20h.

While different autonomous communities in Spain advance their own frameworks to regulate gambling, the Government of Spain took a step forward, as well. This week, an update to the Gambling Regulation Law appeared in the country’s Official Gazette.

La Basilica in Barcelona, Spain
La Basilica cathedral, also known as the Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona, Spain. The Mediterranean country continues to advance its nationwide and regional gambling reforms. (Image: Astons.com)

The update includes the approved amendments to a bill to modify Spain’s legal gambling framework. It’s still an ongoing process that began to go through reforms at the beginning of this year.

At the end of June, the Health and Consumer Affairs Commission (CSC, for its Spanish acronym) of the Congress of Deputies approved a bill to update Spain’s gambling framework. As a result, the publication of the updates this week solidifies the changes.

Spain’s Gambling Industry Evolves

In March, Rafael Escudero Alday, Secretary-General of Consumer Affairs and Gaming, referred to the gaming industry as a sector in constant growth. In particular, online gambling is becoming exponentially more popular.

The Gambling Regulation Law has among its core objections the protection of minors and participants in gambling, as well as the prevention of possible addictive behavior. Accordingly, the update, as it appears in the Official Gazette, proposes to the CSC, by majority, the incorporation of four compromise amendments.

It includes an article outlining the general principles for the advertising, promotion and sponsorship of gambling activities. In it, the creation of commercial communications must consider “a sense of social responsibility, without undermining or trivializing the complexity of gambling activity or its potentially harmful effects on people.”

On the other hand, the amendments expand the functions of the National Gambling Commission. It states that the entity must “protect groups of players at risk by evaluating the effectiveness of measures on responsible or safer gambling aimed at these groups that, in compliance with the regulatory obligations that are applicable, must be developed by gambling operators.”

Other provisions that it incorporates refer to global research of the betting market. It defines why and how research is conducted and how researchers must manage collected data.

In addition, the update mentioned the use of non-fungible digital assets, loot boxes and the mechanics of monetization in video games. Specifically, it said the government will create policies and guidelines to cover these options.

Assisting in the development of those policies will be state-level gaming and video games sectors. What the update didn’t say, however, is that Spain will ban loot boxes completely, as some media outlets have erroneously reported.

Andalusia Advances Responsible Gambling

Responsible gambling is a recurrent theme in Spain. In Andalusia, the southernmost autonomous community on the mainland, an education initiative on the topic is returning. This comes thanks to the Andalusian Federation of Associations of Recreational Machines, Salons and Leisure (ANMARE, for its Spanish acronym) and the intervention of a local legislator.

At ANMARE’s last General Assembly meeting, its members unanimously approved the resumption of the Responsible Gaming Accreditation Program of the Spanish Confederation of Gambling Entrepreneurs. This is a plan that began in 2020, but which ANMARE suspended that same year because of COVID-19.

The Andalusian government reduced its funding for the program as a result of the pandemic. However, the provincial deputy of political party Unidas Podemos (United We Can) in the province of Granada, Alejandra Durán, convinced the government to restore funding and even increase it.

Throughout the training, the companies associated with ANMARE trained their workers in the need to make responsible use of recreational machines. They also reinforce the use of the devices as recreational or leisure entertainment to reduce problem gambling risks.

All eight Andalusian provinces will see the arrival of the program. Afterward, ANMARE will transfer the training to the employees of the hospitality companies that have installed recreational gambling machines.

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