Spanish betting industry operators are braced for significant upheaval following an announcement from Alberto Garzon, the new Consumer Affairs Minister.
Speaking to a Spanish current affairs programme at the weekend, Garzon confirmed the announcement of new measures aimed at the gambling industry, which would be made within two or three weeks. He also underlined the government’s view that new federal rules were needed as part of a plan to protect communities in Spain from gambling harm.
Garzon has become an important figure for the gambling industry following his installation as the Consumer Affairs head, by the ruling PSOE-Podemos coalition, and he has been given the task of introducing major changes in both online and land-based gambling sectors.
In the interview, Garzón said that he considered that gambling was a legitimate form of economic activity but added that the existing gambling laws in the country were letting down people who were coping with the social and health consequences of problem gambling.
In terms of the gambling advertising framework, Garzon said that Spain’s current system of virtually no regulation had caused chaos. He underlined the intention of the government to produce a new gambling advertising framework and to clamp down on land-based venues and other operators that were not sufficiently implementing the rules on underage gambling.
Other reports indicated that Spain could be set to move to the establishments of a new fee for all the country’s operators, which would be used to fund gambling addiction research and treatment through Spanish health organisations. At the same time, the consumer affairs group FACUA has also urged the government to copy the measures introduced in the UK industry, most notably a ban on all credit card gambling. The UK ban will come into effect on April 14.