Spain steps up fines for breaches of online gambling rules

The sector saw the second highest increase in advertising spend in 2019.
The sector saw the second highest increase in advertising spend in 2019.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has reported that 53 sanctions were issued in the first half of 2022.

Spain.- The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has warned operators to monitor online gambling more closely after a sharp increase in fines. It reported that the first six months of the year saw 53 sanctions issued, with operators fined a combined €84.3m. That’s a rise from 21 fines totalling €58m in all of 2021.

The ministry reported that it had imposed disqualification orders against 21 operators, revoking their licences for two years due to “very serious infractions”. According to the DGOJ’s list of infringements, Abundantia BV, CrackerJack Entertainment, Famagousta BV, MOMUS 2006 NV and Purple Rain all committed very serious breaches.

Meanwhile, 17 penalties of between €4m and €5m were issued for “serious infractions” of gambling legislation. Betfair SpainCodere and 888Sport were among the biggest operators to face sanctions.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs obliges penalties to be made public under the Gambling Regulation Law of 2021. The ministry said that serious and very serious infractions include cases in which operators offered gambling without the corresponding permit or allowed people prohibited from gambling to play.

The minister of consumer affairs, Alberto Garzon, warned that the fines showed that operators needed to monitor more closely. Last month, the senate passed new Spanish gambling legislation to introduce in-play safeguards and spend limits on online casino and slots plus new customer care duties on access, player registrations and the monitoring and reporting of customer play.

He said that operators would be granted no period of grace to introduce the necessary changes after the law is signed off.

The online gambling trade association Jdigital has urged the government to review Spain’s gambling advertising ban to make it fairer and more proportionate. Its call comes after the Supreme Court ruled that the advertising restrictions should be subject to a constitutional review.

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DGOJ gambling regulation