Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ), Spain’s primary gambling regulatory body, uncovered 20 operators with “serious or very serious infractions.” According to a Ministry of Consumer Affairs (MCA) report, the seven most severe offenders lost their licenses, while the rest had to pay more than €35 million ($38.42 million) in fines.
The Country’s Regulator Was Very Busy
The MCA has published sanction records since July 2021 to promote awareness amidst the gambling industry and encourage operators to abide by the country’s strict regulations. Despite the DGOJ’s effective enforcement strategy and the hundreds of millions in fines, many gambling companies still chose to risk the regulator’s wrath.
In the second half of 2022, 20 iGaming and online sports betting operators received substantial sanctions for various contract breaches. Seven of them were guilty of “very serious infractions,” giving the DGOJ justification to suspend their licenses for two years and hit each with a €5 million ($5.5 million) fine. Unfortunately, the MCA report did reveal details regarding individual cases.
2022 Marked a Record Number of Offenders
The other 13 sanctioned operators faced less harsh punishments, as they were only responsible for “serious infractions.” Nine failed to comply with advertising restrictions and received written warnings or sanctions of €10,000 ($11,000). Four more had to pay fines between €125,000 ($137,200) and €160,000 ($175,600) for allowing individuals on the country’s self-exclusion register to gamble or failing to comply with technical requirements.
Overall, 2022 was rife with violations. H1 saw DGOJ sanction 53 operators, forcing 21 to shut down and collecting €84.3 million (92.6 million) in fines. The figures starkly contrast with 2021, which only had 19 operators pay up to €58 million (63.7 million). Such a sudden spike is likely due to the rapid growth of Spain’s gambling market, as revenues rose by 12% in 2022.
Spain Seeks to Regulate Other Similar Industries
While online betting is a notable contributor to Spain’s economy, the country’s government has been notoriously stringent with its regulations. The newest 2021 regulations imposed strict rules, restricting advertising and most industry-standard bonuses. These measures have contributed to a prosperous, sustainable market that can be an example to other European nations.
Thanks to the effectiveness of its gambling policies, the Spanish government is looking to expand its regulatory reach over adjacent industries. In January, DGOJ proposed to apply further advertising restrictions on lotteries. Another recent initiative seeks to crack down on online content creators, forcing them to be more transparent about their activities and sponsorships.