During the past week the Supreme Court has admitted to processing an appeal of the employer’s association of operators of online game (Jdigital) against the royal decree that regulates online game advertising which came into effect for the past year.
The appeal has been based from the point of view that it is disproportionate and is going to suppose helplessness and vulnerability of consumers game and, clearly, the economic impact of online gambling companies in Spain.
Although here online gambling has been forgotten that other sectors than this Government and the previous ones have had much tougher advertising restrictions than those that have been imposed.
What are the measures that the Government took against Online Gaming companies?
The online gambling sector has not stopped growing in Spain since 2011 and has seen its investment multiply in recent years. Therefore, the Government was concerned about the increase in gambling consumption among the population aged 18 to 25.
The first measure that has affected the most game online is the prohibition of audiovisual advertising outside the hours of 1 to 5 in the morning, preventing the issuance of bonuses in these ads to attract players.
You cannot appear in these ads people or characters, real or fictitious, of relevance or public notoriety, and they have not been allowed to include testimonies of beneficiaries previous, real or fictitious, to advertise.
Therefore, these types of companies cannot direct their offers to registered and verified customers and to users who have shown compulsive gambling behaviors, that is, addiction.
On the other hand, sports clubs have not been able to sign sponsorship contracts with bookmakers that involve carrying advertising on their kits. Nor has it been possible to have advertising in the stadiums or carry out sponsorship activities that consist of the use of the brand to identify the sports facility.
They were also banned by the mail advertising nor advertising through Internet, although they can use social networks, where these types of companies have only been able to issue advertising messages to their followers.
In search engines, such as Google, social networks or video-sharing platforms, such as YouTube, these types of companies have only been able to count on instruments that cannot be used for advertising aimed at minors.
What are the terms and penalties for applying these measures?
Since the approval of the royal decree in November last year, new contracts have not been signed against the proposed measures, although the Government established deadlines for companies in the game online they could adapt to new conditions for this reason, these companies have been able to go to court.
The terms established by the Government were as follows:
- For the contracts already signed and that are in force at the time of entry of the measures, certain terms are established that go up to summer 2021, coinciding with the end of the sports season, although the private agreements between clubs and operators have been signed for a longer time.
- The prohibition measures promotional bonuses or the regulation of advertising on the Internet, although there are longer contracts, will have a shorter adaptation period and will come into effect in full on May 1, 2021.
- In the case of advertising campaigns with people or characters of relevance that have already been contracted, they will not be able to continue broadcasting from April 1, 2021.
- The rest of signed contracts Prior to the entry into force of the measures, they may be maintained until August 30, 2021.
A series of sanctions have been established for operators who fail to meet these deadlines. In other words, breaches considered serious may have a sanction between 100 thousand and 1 million euros and with the consequent suspension of activity in Spain for a maximum of 6 months.
The online gambling sector tries to play its last cards
The online gambling sector thinks that the regulations established by the Government can aggravate the gambling problems that take place in a illegal market and that they are not subject to any type of regulation.
According to the sector of game online online advertising has always followed those established by law and which were always supervised by the different bodies involved. Although here what the sector complains is that the rules of the game have changed and that this has hurt their pocketbook.
On the other hand, the online gambling sector does not refuse to have a regulation on advertising but they consider that the measures have been disproportionate compared to other sectors. But here they forget that it is possible to reach levels of tobacco sector bans that denies any type of advertising activity, apart from the points of sale.
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