Approved the Royal Decree on gaming advertising

After months of many discussions, comings and goings, including the European Commission that gave the green light to the text of the government last July, the Royal Decree on Commercial Communications for Gaming Activities has finally been approved by the Council of Ministers. An achievement in Alberto Garzón's ministerial career that has caused mixed reactions in civil society and industry. What are the main measures contemplated?

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Will we miss gaming and betting operators on social networks and other media? Quite possibly. The Royal Decree that has begun to regulate the commercial communications of the game in USA establishes very strict limits to the advertising of the operators.©geralt/Pixabay

Theletter that Garzón sent to the presidents of the professional soccer clubs was just the appetizer of what was presumed to come. After the approval given by the Council of State, nothing stood in the way of the approval of the Royal Decree, asthis happened on November 3rd.

Immediately after its approval, Minister Alberto Garzón gave an account in a longtweet of the series of measures contemplated in the new legislation and that the BOE made public on November 4. TheRoyal Decree 958/2020 finally comes to light andthe industry's worst suspicions are confirmed.

The text of the Royal Decree

The legislative text is extensive andsupposes the most important modification of the gaming law in USA desde su aprobación en 2011. El nuevo texto se propone desarrollar los artículos 7 y 8 de la Ley 13/2011, referidos, respectivamente, a la publicidad, patrocinio y promoción de las actividades de juego y a la protección de los consumidores y políticas de juego responsable.

Therestrictions that are now developed in the Royal Decree are very similar to those that were imposed during the first confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 and thatleft players in USA without the well-knownwelcome bonuses and other activities to attract new customers.

From that time, andwithout sports competitions to bet on, the issue of operators' advertising was left in the background. Now, thelimitation of advertising related to the game is a fact. Thesponsorships of football clubs on shirts and stadiums have also become history.

The measures contemplated

We offer a summary of the most important measures andthat generate the most controversy in the sector:

  • Art.18: Advertising of the game on radio and television is restricted to the time slot from 1 to 5 in the morning.
  • Art.23 and 24: Advertising is allowed on the operator's websites, social networks and newsletters with the prior consent of the user.
  • Art.12: The operators' brand cannot be displayed on sports equipment, or in stadiums or training centers or sports facilities.
  • Art.13: Promotions to attract new customers are prohibited; Promotional offers are only allowed to customers who have a verified open gaming account for at least 30 days.
  • Art.15: The appearance in commercial communications of characters, real or fictional, of relevance or public notoriety is prohibited.

In addition, operators who skip the new advertising regulationthe sanctioning regime is applied contemplated in Law 13/2011, of according to its classification as a serious offense that carries a fine of one hundred thousand to one million euros and the suspension of the license for a maximum period of 6 months (TITLE VI).

In this way, from now onnew advertising contracts cannot be closed, and those existing between professional soccer teams and bets will be extinguished once the current season ends.

Garzón's objectives with the new legislation

The new legislation is part of the political program of the United We Can group with which the current Minister of Consumer Affairs concurred. Izquierda Unida, the political movement of which he is the federal coordinator, hasan ambitious program forthe complete reform of gambling in USA, of which the Royal Decree on Commercial Communications is only a first step. The prohibition of credit cards to place bets may be next.

The minister emphasized that the new legislation had theobjective “to protect working families” already || |101los más jóvenes, a los que la expansión de las apuestas deportivas afecta especialmente.

The industry reacts with resignation

From the industry employers, Jdigital,the Royal Decree is described as a | ||109“medida incoherente y poco acertada, en un momento de crisis económica”. In its assessment of the text of the law, the association that brings together more than 80% of online gambling operators in USA, ventures to predict the more thanprobable increase in illegal gambling with the entry into force of the Royal Decree.

“We consider that, unfortunately, the reform of the regulation proposed by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs may have the opposite effect to that intended, since it supposes such a disproportionate restriction of the advertising activity of legal operators that it results comparable, in practice, to a ban on it. This will entail, as has happened in other countries where similar measures have been adopted, the foreseeable increase in the activity of unlicensed operators, which will have disastrous consequences in terms of the protection of vulnerable groups.”Jdigital, inOfficial Statement

Althoughthe operators are going to have to adapt to the new legislation, as in fact they are already doing, it is far from the last word: neither that of the government, nor that of the industry.

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