Spanish gambling incumbents have been put on alert, after Alberto Garzón – Spain’s new Consumer Affairs Minister -confirmed that he will announce new industry measures ‘within two to three weeks’.
Garzón made his statement on Spanish broadcaster La Sexta’s weekend current affairs programme ‘El Objetivo’ underlining that new federal measures were needed to protect Spanish communities from ‘the extremes of gambling’.
Since the start of 2020, Spanish incumbents have paid close attention to Garzon’s movements, as the Podemos party deputy has been appointed by newly installed PSOE-Podemos ‘socialist union’ coalition government, tasked with spearheading sweeping changes across land-based and online gambling verticals.
In his interview, Garzón maintained that he believed gambling to be a ‘legal economic activity’ and even admitted to playing Spain’s ‘El Gordo’ Christmas Lottery.
Nevertheless, Garzón stated that Spain’s current gambling laws had let down local communities dealing with problem gambling impacts as health and social issue.
Leading Spain’s Consumer Affairs Ministry, which has been granted an expanded remit to oversee gambling regulations, Garzón underlined that government intervention was required to form ‘autonomous coordination’ on gambling standards and sector regulations.
On gambling advertising, Garzón stated that Spain holds ‘virtually no regulation, leading to chaos’, creating an advertising marketplace ‘governed by the law of the jungle’.
Taking government, the PSOE-Podemos coalition immediately confirmed the approval of Spain’s long-awaited Royal Decree on advertising, establishing a new code for gambling advertising.
Furthermore, Garzón pointed Spain’s disjointed autonomous laws and penalties regulating land-based gambling establishments ‘which have allowed minors to enter premises without any consequences’.
Speculation of further government enforcements is wide-ranging, with the PSOE-Podemos government citing that Spanish gambling is need of ‘comprehensive monitoring’.
Having been allowed to review PSOE-Podemos ‘coalition programme’, newspaper El Pais reported that a government pact indicated that Spain would move to establish a ‘management fee’ on all licensed operators, funding gambling addiction treatment by Spanish health networks.
Further market developments saw FACUA, Spain’s independent consumer affairs agency, advise PSEO-Podemos to ‘replicate UK government safer gambling measures’ by urging coalition leadership to implement a ban on credit card transactions across all industry verticals.