The Ban on Gambling Ads in Spain Consider…

Spain’s attempt to restrict gambling ads has hit a snag, with the Supreme Court challenging its validity.

Since its introduction in September 2021, the “Garzón Law” has controlled gambling advertisements in media and sports. Previously, gambling marketers faced obstacles due to the Royal Decree on the commercial communications of gambling activities. Operators were quick to resist the guidelines and felt the long-running dispute might finally turn in their favor.


Court’s interpretation

The Third Chamber of the Supreme Court considered the appeal lodged against the royal order by the Spanish Association of Digital Games (JDigital). He thinks the ordinance can counter the presumption that laws should be reserved for future purposes.

It is fundamental to the right to do business of the Spanish Constitution. Therefore, the disagreement was forwarded to the Constitutional Court to establish its legality.

The Supreme Court order stated that “the law does not specify the criteria by which regulatory development of advertising must occur. The guidelines by which regulation may condition or limit the advertising that gambling operators may conduct , nor any guidance or criteria as to what may or may not be considered proportionate”.

The court believes that this may mean that a subject of law has been “de-legalized” in this case.

Additionally, the interpretation suggests limiting the ability of lawmakers to impose restrictions on advertising, primarily gambling promotions.

According to the house decree, the contested royal act will not have adequate legal cover to govern in-game advertising if the provision is declared unconstitutional. At the same time, if it complies with the standards set out in the constitution, the royal decree will have the force of law.

Advertisements beyond 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. are prohibited by the Royal Decree, adopted on November 3, 2020. In addition, it provides for up to six months of suspension of commercial activity and sanctions for operators up to at 1 million euros ($1.01 million).


The gambling industry in Spain

Spain’s gambling addiction rate is low, and its gambling industry is thriving.

Nevertheless, the online gaming climate is changing. Several countries, such as Spain, are working to reduce industry-related sponsorships and advertisements.

Alberto Garzón, Spain’s consumer affairs minister, strongly backed the royal edict banning gambling advertising. Garzón has been a member of the Spanish Communist Party and the United Left Party since 2003 and is a representative of the coalition parliament.

For Garzón, banning large-scale gambling is not the same as restricting its advertising potential. As a result, he said the limits are intended to reduce opportunities for customers to gamble to make a quick buck in times of crisis.

Similarly, Garzón argued that advertising restrictions on gambling would not bankrupt the media or sports teams. While this is fine, regulations make it difficult for customers to distinguish between legal and unauthorized sites. Furthermore, it prohibits the government from publicizing the dangers of gambling.

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