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Spain Cautioned Over Online Casino Laws

Mia Gardner | 16 Jan 2020

Spain’s new coalition government is looking to set out new laws and regulations to govern their online casino market. Their goal is to improve player protection through stricter advertising laws for online operators, new taxation requirements and various other initiatives that are already being implemented.

The bi-party government, made up of the Podemos and PSOE parties, issued a policy document at the end of 2019. In this accord, they set out how they hope to change the laws with new measures being outlined and commitments and goals they would like to accomplish in the coming months. The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has applauded the document and the general outcomes the Spain hopes to achieve through them. However, they have warned the country to be wary of making the rules too strict.

Be Wary Of Pushing Players Away

The EGBA is in an important position where they are able to see the impact of regulation changes in the various markets they support. Over the years, the association has witnessed how well meaning measures aimed at protecting the players can actually have the adverse effect. The laws become too strict, and players are pushed towards playing on unregulated online casinos where they have no recourse for disputes. These illegal sites are also not usually concerned about the well being of a player; even when they are on a country’s self-exclusion register.

When commenting on the proposed changes to the Spanish regulations, the secretary general of the EGBA, Maarten Haijer, said that they simply wish to warn the government to think about the potential risks of making online casino laws too stringent. The regulations should protect players and the regulated gambling industry within Spain, as this results in a win-win situation.

The Important Role Of Advertising

One of the biggest changes that the new Spanish government is proposing is the increase of restrictions on advertising for online casinos. This is also one of the biggest areas that the EGBA warns caution over. According to Haijer, the banning of advertising can cause confusion with players, as they do not know which operators are legal in their market and which are illegal. The licenced operators should be easy to find and have some kind of brand recognition within the market.

On the other side of the argument, however, Haijer and the EGBA do agree that there should be an element of a responsible gaming message in all advertising.

What ever happens, it looks like big changes are afoot in the online casino industry in Spain, and as so many other countries have been focusing on regulating iGaming it will be interesting to see which path is followed.

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