A range of stakeholders in the broadcasting, sports and gambling industries in Spain have been provided with more clarity on proposed changes by the national government.
Spain has formally sent its proposed restrictions on gambling advertising to the European Commission after making a number of changes to the proposed controls. These include a removal of the exception for advertising around live sports broadcasts and a prohibition on betting sponsorship deals for sports clubs.
The draft regulations that have now been sent to the EC include a large proportion of what was included at the time when the fresh restrictions were announced, back in February. These include one of the most controversial measures, that of limiting gambling advertising to the window of 01:00 and 05:00 every day, which effectively ends gambling advertising as a major source of new business.
The proposals also include a removal of the original plan to permit operators to advertise during and around live sports broadcasts which took place between 20:00 and 05:00, along with a limit on betting sponsorship and a cap on bonus offers of €100.
Betting advertising controls in Spain were then tightened when the country went into lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic. These controls included a complete ban on bonuses, and a 01:00 to 05:00 advertising window introduced, which had limited effect due to the lack of live sport in Spain.
Some of the lockdown controls were eased in early June, as the country began to ease the pandemic restrictions. But many of those temporary controls have now been built into the regulations that have been sent to the EC, along with a number of additional measures.
These include an end to gambling operators paying to have their branding on sports teams’ shirts, along with a ban on gambling firms buying naming rights to sports stadiums or competitions. The proposals will allow for in-stadium advertising, but this will be subject to the same rules that apply to television and radio advertising. In addition, there will be no exception for gambling advertising during sports broadcasts that take place after 20:00.
For events that are deemed to be ‘contests’ – defined as prize draws with an entry stake – advertising will be allowed after 22:00, as long as it is during television broadcasts aimed at over-18s.
The temporary ban on the offer of monetary incentives to gamble is set to be made permanent under the new rules. Operators will only be allowed to send promotions to those players who have had a gambling account for more than a month, have made three deposits at minimum, and who have been through identity checks.
There is likely to be some delay however, in the processing and eventual enactment of these regulations. The original edition of the regulations went to the EC in March this year, and was subject to a ‘standstill’ period that was originally due to end at the start of June. This period has continued and it is not clear when it will come to an end, giving operators some respite in adjusting to the proposals.