Spain introduces strict iGaming advertising restrictions as a Covid-19 ‘social shield’

Spain gambling advertising restrictions

Online gambling restrictions form part of Spain’s emergency measures brought in for the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak

Among these, big restrictions to online gambling are going to be implemented. 

The various temporary regulations were approved yesterday by Spanish ministers, with the aim of preserving social and economic order. 

The four-hour window 

According to the passed laws, gambling advertising will only be permitted between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. each night. This window was also approved in February’s passed Royal Decree

There is, however, one main difference to the rules passed a few months ago. In February’s legislative changes, an exception was made for ads around live sporting broadcasts kicking off between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.. Since no sport is being played right now, gambling advertising is pretty much snuffed out. 

February’s amendments were only set to be enforced from the beginning of the 2020/2021 football season in August. This was to give operators a grace period, in which they would be able to meet the demands of their existing media contracts. 

What else is worth noting?

Communications on digital channels, including email communications and social media advertising, are banned. Operators will also be forbidden from running acquisition or retention campaigns offering any kind of prize. These include financial rewards, bonuses, free bets and discounts. 

The decree furthermore states that messages must also not refer to the pandemic – either implicitly or explicitly. Moreover, anything perceived to portray gambling as a way to combat boredom will also be prohibited. 

According to the Spanish media, La Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) – the country’s gambling regulator – discovered that gambling activity has increased in recent weeks. As a result, the country’s politicians deemed it necessary to take action. 

This is despite Spain’s state-owned lottery, Sociedad Estatal Loterías y Apuestas del Estado (SELAE), halting both its on and offline ticket sales last month.