Earlier this week, lawmakers in Spain approved the “Royal Decree on Responsible Gambling Environments,” a new regulation of the gambling sector that enforces tough restrictions in an effort to protect customers and especially young adults.
Supported by Alberto Garzón, the Minister of Consumer Affairs in Spain, the new Decree enforces tough regulation for the sector, implementing advertising restrictions and demanding operators to comply with guidelines that seek to protect the public from at-risk gambling as well as gambling harm.
The New Decree Seeks to Identify At-Risk Gambling
One of the major changes within the new regulation involves customers aged 18 to 25 years old, an age group also referred to as young adults. Per the new Decree in Spain, the gambling regulators would be obligated to monitor the activities of those customers, collecting data involving their betting habits that would help build a “risk profile” for each of those clients.
If a customer within that age group passes specific thresholds for at-risk gambling or shows signs of gambling harm, the operators would need to contact them. Such triggers can be changes in gambling behavior involving accumulation of losses, frequent deposits and others.
Licensed gambling operators would engage with such users, warning them that a potentially harmful gambling pattern is detected. Individuals that are identified as “at-risk gamblers” due to an increase in money spent on gambling or losses would not be allowed to use credit cards under the new Decree.
Compliance with the Decree Is Mandatory
As with any regulated gambling market, licensed operators in Spain need to adhere to the new regulations. In the event of breaches, the Ministry of Consumption would engage in heavy fines that can go up to €50 million ($53.1 million). In severe or cases involving repeated violations, regulatory sanctions such as license suspension or license revocation may be imposed as well.
Besides engaging with the customers, gambling operators in the country would be restricted from targeting young adults with bonus offers or VIP incentives. Such advertising won’t be allowed for that age group. On the other hand, young adults that haven’t registered with gambling operators would not be subject to advertising by gambling companies.
The new restrictions are expected to be implemented within the next six months, yet a solid date is yet to be confirmed. Some restrictions may take longer to implement primarily due to technological changes.
The new decree reaffirms Spain’s innovative and robust approach toward tackling gambling harm. Some of the changes closely resemble the active regulation currently in place for the Netherlands, another European gambling market that is focused on protecting consumers and ensuring they engage in gambling activities responsibly.