HomeGamblingSpain’s Supreme Court Rolls Back Restrictions On Gambling Ads

Spain’s Supreme Court Rolls Back Restrictions On Gambling Ads

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The law mandated that advertising on TV and radio, which includes YouTube, would be restricted to the hours of 1 am and 5 am.

Apr 11, 2024 • 16:42 ET

• 4 min read

The Spanish Digital Gaming Association (Jdigital) launched an appeal of Royal Decree 958/2020 which went into effect in November 2020 to reduce minors’ exposure to gambling advertising in Spain by placing aggressive restrictions on how operators market their products. 

According to iGamingBusiness, the Spanish Constitutional Court rejected Jdigital’s appeal in November 2023, but the Supreme Court reviewed the law and concluded that many of the Royal Decree’s measures lacked legal basis and therefore should be overturned. 

When announcing its verdict, The Supreme Court stated that its “ruling considers that advertising is part of the freedom of business and is subject to limits. However, such limits and prohibitions, insofar as they also affect the exercise of a lawful business activity, must have sufficient legal coverage, without being able to be regulated by independent regulatory standards unrelated to the criteria and limits set by the legislator.” 

Tough Regulations 

Royal Decree 958/2020 had some boundaries around what gambling operators could and could not do in their marketing, all enacted to protect Spanish minors from overexposure to potentially bad habits. 

The law mandated that advertising on TV and radio, which includes YouTube, would be restricted to the hours of 1 am and 5 am. Operator brands could only publish promotional content for their existing social media followers. Promotional bonuses were prohibited, except if the particular advertising was targeted to verified customers. 

Operators have not been allowed to use celebrities in their ads or engage in sports sponsorships since 2021 as well. No constituents of “public relevance and notoriety” could be used in commercials under the existing measures.

Partial Upholding

Since the Supreme Court annulled several of the measures outlined in the Royal Decree but left others unscathed, Jdigital’s appeal was partially upheld. 

Article 13 will be overturned, which will now allow Spanish operators to market to players who have had an account for less than 30 days. Operators will also be able to advertise in places where lottery games are sold too. 

The measure banning the appearance of celebrities in gambling promotions, Article 15, has been annulled. 

The restrictions on sharing gambling advertisements on YouTube have been lifted as well, and operators can now advertise on social media to all users over the age of 18. 

Despite these alleviations, there is still some significant red tape around how gambling operators can promote themselves. 

Operators will still be banned from advertising or using branding for events, goods and services that could potentially be viewed by minors. They are also barred from sponsoring sporting events or broadcasts or engaging in any sponsorship activities that relate to a sports facility. 

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