Spanish operators agree to voluntary new ad restrictions

18 November 2019

Spanish igaming operator association JDigital has proposed a series of changes to the code of conduct that governs gambling advertising in the market, including an outright ban on betting adverts during live televised sports events, which are due to come into force in January 2020.

Spanish gambling regulator Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) has adopted the changes, which include new rules for all forms of advertising, promotion, sponsorship and other commercial communications. They are due to come into effect from 15 January, 2020.

Amendments to the code include three principles related to ethics, specifically truthfulness, responsible gambling and the protection of minors.

Significant new measures include an outright ban on gambling ads during live broadcasts of sporting events, while welcome bonus offers will now be limited to a maximum of €200 (£171/$221)

In terms of ethics, the new code states that all adverts must be true, not mislead consumers or omit data or facts that could lead to confusion.

Licensees must also inform the DGOJ if a third party is taking on advertising on their behalf. In addition, all communications and self-promotions all essential elements of the terms and conditions of bonuses or promotions so as to fully inform the consumer of the details of the offer.

Meanwhile, the updated code also addresses responsible gambling in depth, with licensees now subject to various measures in commercial communications and self-promotions.

Ads must not incite addictive gambling or suggest that playing a game would help a consumer improve their financial or personal situation, nor imply that excessive game losses would not have any consequences. At the same time, all ads must include a message that discourages responsible gambling. 

Operators should not make credit offers to players or suggest that continuous playing of a game, or the skill of the player, would increase their probability of winning.

Licensees should not encourage repetitive gaming, or suggest that players would be rewarded for compulsive behaviour. The DGOJ also emphasised a prohibition on promoting uncontrolled bets or risks.

Active professional athletes will not be permitted to feature in adverts or self-promotions, while all ads must include an age limit warnings, whereby they make clear that only over-18s are permitted to gamble.

The DGOJ went into further depth on protecting minors form gambling-related harms, setting out a number of measures for adverts and similar materials.

Ads must not suggest that minors can play or place wagers, present a bet or betting slip as a gift a child can receive, include people under 25 or be aimed at children under 18. Operators should also ensure adverts to not state that playing a game is a sign of maturity or passage to adulthood.

The code also said adverts must not directly or indirectly incite minors to play a game, nor exploit their relationship with adults – such as parents or teachers – so that they can play the game. In addition, ads must not include any visual, sound, verbal or written elements specifically aimed at children.