Spain introduced strict restrictions on gambling advertisements last November. The restrictions include a ban on sponsored gambling after the end of the football season. Such a ban could cause difficulties for many Spanish football clubs, which have already felt the economic impact of the pandemic last year.
Spain's strict gambling advertising rules affect industry
Last November, the Spanish Council of Ministers approved a new royal decree on gambling advertising. Decree has introduced strict new rules on gambling advertising . Under the new rules, gambling advertisements on television and radio are restricted from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. In addition new decree bans gambling sponsorship .
The Spanish government justified the introduction of the new rules to reduce the exposure of the younger population to gambling . However, the new gambling advertising restrictions do not apply to the ONCE and SELAE state lotteries.
In addition to gambling ads, new rules restrict gambling operators to offering a one-off welcome bonus of up to EUR 100 . The only exception is individual customers with verified accounts who can receive exclusive offers.
Undoubtedly on football will be affected by new rules . The new restrictions allow existing partnerships to remain in place until the end of the current football season. However, sponsorship ban will inevitably affect all football clubs . In addition, the new rules prohibit current or former athletes from participating in gambling advertisements.
In an interview with Reuters, Javier TEBAS, president of La Liga, stressed that the new measures will do considerable damage to Spanish football. According to him, the new measures will bring football "90 million euros of damage ". In addition, Tebas found the measure to be "contradictory", mainly because gambling is legal in Spain.
Another point Tebas made was that " the clubs will have to scramble " in this very difficult time. He further added that La Liga has asked the Spanish government to consider a different policy. According to him current policy limits clubs' ability to generate revenue . This results in a reduction in the competitiveness of Spanish football clubs with the rest of Europe.
In addition to the gambling ad ban that will affect football at the end of the season, the COVID-19 pandemic has also affected sports in Spain. Last year COVID restrictions have led to losses of millions of euros in ticket sales .
Problem gambling - always low in Spain
Although Spain has tightened restrictions on gambling advertising, problem gambling does not appear to be a public health issue in the country. Earlier this month, Spanish gambling regulator Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) revealed that problem gambling is not a public health problem . Moreover, the adjuster acknowledged that " the vast majority of people who gamble " is doing it for recreational purposes . According to the DGOJ, this is not a health problem for these individuals.
In addition, Spain offers a self-exclusion gambling programme with a number of participants increased by 12% last year . Figures revealed last month by the National Self-Exclusion Register confirm that more people joined the scheme in 2020. Number of self-excluded people reached 56329 last year . That's 6042 more people compared to the 2019 result. With that in mind, the question remains, Whether the Spanish government would consider relaxing restrictions on football clubs again, or would he continue with his current plan.