Spain lifts Covid-19 ad restrictions

10 June 2020

Spain has repealed a series of temporary restrictions on gambling advertising during the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis, as the country continues to ease .

The latest Royal Decree, Royal Decree-Law 21/2020, published today (10 June) in the Official State Gazette (BOE), repeals article 37 of Royal Decree-Law 11/2020, which introduced strict advertising restrictions for gambling operators. Spain is preparing to lift the state of emergency declared on 13 March, which is due to expire on 21 June.

Bonuses, discounts, free bets and bet multiplier offers were all prohibited, as were individual email communications and direct advertising on social media.

In addition, operators were not allowed to refer explicitly or implicitly to the pandemic in their marketing.

The decree also stated that gambling advertising could only be broadcast on TV and radio between the hours of 1am and 5am each day.

While these restrictions are lifted for now, they are soon to be replaced by similar restrictions on gambling advertising. In February, the government announced a series of new measures for advertising as part of a consultation which ran until 16 March.

The restrictions announced in February included a ban on audiovisual advertising outside of the hours of 1am to 5am, but did provide an exception for live sports broadcasts between 8pm and 5am. However, these ads must not make any reference to promotions or bonuses, mention live odds or contain direct inducements to gamble, such as “play now” or “bet now”.

Under these new restrictions, operators would also not be able to use public figures to endorse their products. Marketing communications must also avoid overstating the chances of winning and avoid promoting gambling as a path to financial or social success.

Acquisition bonuses, meanwhile, will be capped at €100. Email advertising may only be sent after checking whether the recipients are listed on Spain’s self-exclusion database or classed as an at-risk player, while social media ads must be aimed at an audience filtered to avoid minors, with a responsible gambling ad shown for every four standard ads.