Espinosa maintains DGOJ leadership ahead of Spanish gambling overhaul

Juan Garcia Espinosa will maintain his position as Director-General of Spanish gambling regulatory authority – Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ).

On Wednesday, Spain’s newly formed PSOE and Podemos coalition government concluded a Council of Ministers meeting, in which ‘structural changes’ to Spanish ministerial departments were confirmed.

Despite sanctioning significant ministerial changes, Spain’s ‘socialist union’ coalition government has chosen to maintain Espinosa as the nation’s lead civil servant for gambling policies.

Leading the DGOJ since 2017, Espinosa has led a number of key policy initiatives primarily focused on improving the treatment of gambling harms, improving the DGOJ’s collaborative frameworks and reclassifying gambling addiction as a mental health issue.

Restructuring Spain’s regulatory departments, Wednesday’s meeting would see PSOE-Podemos transfer the DGOJ’s supervisory responsibilities from the Ministry of Finance to the Consumer Affairs Ministry led by Podemos Deputy Alberto Garzon.

PSOE-Podemos leadership had previously confirmed that regulatory oversight of Spanish gambling would be transferred to Garzon’s department as part of the government’s ‘coalition programme’.

In its decision, Spain’s new government states that gambling requires supervision from the Consumer Affairs Ministry, as gambling addiction requires close scrutiny by Spain’s national health networks.

Taking control of Spain’s Consumer Affairs Ministry, Garzon would indicate to Spanish media that the government would sanction imminent sweeping changes to Spanish gambling laws inbound within a two to three week period. 

He explained that sweeping federal changes were required to overhaul Spanish autonomous gambling frameworks, which had let down local communities and families by endangering vulnerable consumers.

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.

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