Mikel López de Torre, President of Spanish online gambling trade association Jdigital has fired back at the government fast-tracking agreed measures of Spain’s Royal Decree on advertising.
To the surprise of betting incumbents, on Wednesday Spain’s Council of Ministers approved a package of temporary measures supporting health networks and emergency services battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amongst the measures branded as a ‘social shield’ protecting citizens, ministers had approved a provision fast-tracking the Royal Decree’s advertising restrictions to commence immediately.
The swift policy enforcement will see the Royal Decree’s flagship ‘betting advertising window ‘immediately implemented, restricting gambling adverts to be broadcasted from 1-5 am across all Spanish communities.
Speaking to SBC, López de Torre brands the government’s actions as ‘another strong blow for a sector that is already suffering notably the effects of the coronavirus crisis.’
López de Torre depicts the dire marketplace realities faced by Spanish online incumbents trying to maintain their businesses afloat under unprecedented conditions.
“In recent weeks, have seen revenues of online gaming operators drop notably as a result of the cancellation of almost all international sports competitions, as sports betting represents over 50% of the turnover of online gambling in our country.” López de Torre adds
“A decline in income adds up to the contraction that the sector had been experiencing in recent months, according to the latest official data from DGOJ (Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling). Specifically, a 3.23% less GGR (Gross Gambling Revenue) was generated compared to the third quarter of 2019, according to the latest DGOJ’s quarterly report on the Online Gaming Market.”
Beyond unnecessary, López de Torre lambasts Spanish ministers for not evaluating the economic consequences of attaching gambling measures to a public health decree.
COVID-19 sees all Spanish industries facing an uncertain future, as Jdigital underlines the negative wider impact the government’s decision will have on Spain’s media owners, publishers and broadcasters unable to finish vital advertising contracts.
López de Torre details disappointment at a new government that had promised to listen and collaborate with Jdigital in developing Spainish online gambling standards, but had indicated no prior warning to its drastic actions.
“Jdigital has placed special emphasis as an industry on the confinement decreed as a prevention against the spread of the coronavirus, and we are appealing to the responsibility of both operators in their commercial communications as of online gamblers.”
“Our industry is highly regulated and we have specific control and security measures to protect the most vulnerable groups and we are convinced that the operators that are part of Jdigital are respecting these principles that govern the industry.”