There’s a lot going on in Spain with regards to the regulation of gambling. Not only are different autonomous communities advancing their own frameworks, the Spanish Government is also taking steps in the right direction too. The latest is an update to the Gambling Regulation Law and it appeared in Spain’s Official Gazette.

Included in the update are approved amendments to a bill that will modify the framework of Spanish legal gambling. The process is an ongoing one and the reforms started at the beginning of the year.

A bill that updates Spain’s gambling framework was passed at the end of June by the Health and Consumer Affairs Commission of the Congress of Deputies (CSC). The updates were published this week, which solidifies the changes.

The Evolution of the Spanish Gambling Industry

The Secretary-General of Consumer Affairs, Rafael Escudero Alday, made reference to the gaming industry in March, saying that it was a sector that was experiencing constant growth. Online gambling, in particular, is showing exponential growth.

However, there are concerns that gamblers, and minors, in particular, need extra protection. Thus, The Gambling Regulation Law includes core objectives that relate to the protection of gambling participants and minors.

The update that appears in the Official Gazette includes a proposal to the CSC that four compromise amendments are included.

Firstly, there is an article that outlines general principles relating to the advertising, promoting, and sponsorship of all gambling activities. Any commercial communications must be socially responsible, not trivialising or undermining the complexity of gambling activity or the potential for harm.

Secondly, the amendments propose an expansion of the National Gambling Commission’s functions. The organisation must work to protect players who are most at risk. This will include evaluating the effectiveness of responsible gaming measures that are required by gambling operators.

In addition, there are provisions that relate to global research of betting markets. Clearly defined are the ways in which the research is conducted, why research is necessary, and how any collected data is managed.

Finally, loot boxes and non-fungible digital assets and their use are mentioned along with how video games should be monetised. The amendments specify that the government should create guidelines and policies to ensure these options are covered. Video games and state-level gaming sectors will be available to help the government develop these policies.

There have been reports of Spain banning loot boxes completely, however, there is nothing in the update to confirm this.

Responsible Gaming in Andalusia

Responsible gambling is taken very seriously across the whole of the country, but in Andalusia, renewed efforts are underway to resurrect an education initiative. This is all thanks to ANMARE, or the Andalusian Federation of Associations of Recreational Machines, Salons, and Leisure.

At the organisation’s last General Assembly, members unanimously agreed to resume the Responsible Gaming Accreditation Program of the Spanish Confederation of Gambling Entrepreneurs. The program started in 2020 but had to be suspended in the same year thanks to COVID-19.

Government funding for the program was reduced because of the pandemic. However, Alejandra Duran, the provincial deputy of the Unidas Podemos political party was able to persuade the government to restore and increase funding for the project.

The educational initiative includes training in the responsible use of recreational machines and reinforcing the use of gambling devices as leisure or recreational entertainment as this has been shown to reduce the risk of problem gambling.

The program will be adopted by all Andalusian provinces. After that, ANMARE will ensure that training will continue and can be transferred to employees of companies that have installed gambling machines.  

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