Spanish consumer rights body calls for credit card gambling ban

15 January 2020

Spanish independent consumer rights body FACUA-Consumidores en Acción has asked the country’s Minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzon, to introduce a ban on the use of credit cards for gambling.

The group said that it felt the restrictions proposed by Spain’s Podemos-PSOE coalition on 2 January were a positive step, but urged the government to go even further.

FACUA said that the proposed restriction would help consumers avoid falling into debt by betting with money they do not have.

“This measure would help to fight against gambling, a scourge that in recent years has continued to increase, especially in vulnerable groups such as youth and adolescents, as associations of rehabilitated players and studies in this field have confirmed,” FACUA added.

The request follows the GB Gambling Commission’s decision on earlier this week (14 January) to ban the use of credit cards in all online and land-based gambling except non-remote lotteries, following a public consultation on the issue. FACUA praised the British ban and said it hoped Spain would follow suit.

“The association asks the government to follow the example of the United Kingdom, which has just approved this measure of protection for the most vulnerable people, that aims to minimise risks to consumers by preventing them from accumulating debts due to gambling, making it the only country in our region that restricts the use of credit cards in this industry,” FACUA said.

The Spanish government coalition has put forward a six-point plan for tightening gambling regulations , including working with regions to prevent gambling establishments from opening before 10pm and limiting their proximity to schools.

The plans also include regulating gambling with restrictions similar to those eforced on the tobacco industry. Since 2005, tobacco products in Spain may only be advertised at the point of sale and in non-EU-produced publications intended for non-EU audiences.

Last week (10 January), the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has expressed skepticism towards the government's plans.

EGBA said that while it welcomes “measures which genuinely strengthen consumer protection,” it believes that the measures put in place - particularly severe advertising restrictions - would merely push players to unlicensed operators.