The online gambling industry in Spain is fraught with ill thought out regulation that fails to see the bigger picture. Legislators have ignored logic on several occasions.
Casinos such as those on mejorcasinoonlineespanol.com are now going to face some tough choices over the coming year.
The online poker sector was victim to a particularly embarrassing regulation change in 2012. It was only from that year that players were able to offset their tax bill with losses. However, legislators failed to retrospectively apply the law and some players were unfairly targeted.
Chess grandmaster Francisco Vallejo Pons took up the game in 2011 and after dumping a few thousand euros he decided that it wasn’t for him and moved on with his life. Imagine his shock when in 2016 a bill for more than half a million euros arrived through his letterbox.
We go back to the year 2011. Play some online poker, for fun, I'm no gambler… I lost everything, a few thousand and I stopped playing,” Pons explains. “I get a bill for more than 6 figures! More than half a million euros because you played poker and lost. It sounds like a macabre joke, but it's not, and at that moment starts a snowball that's crushing you.”
So, these are the kind of lawmakers we are talking about here.
Changes During 2020
Last year saw some significant legal changes applied to the gambling industry. Twelve months ago new restrictions on advertising gambling were announced, putting the sector on a level “similar to that of tobacco products”.
The Spanish government said they wanted to encourage “healthy consumption practices and to prevent, anticipate or identify the generation of problematic game patterns”.
A part of the restrictions coming in are a ban on advertising via sponsorship of sports teams from the end of the 2020/21 season. This move will particularly affect the top divisions in the Spanish football league.
Gambling firms are also now limited to advertising on TV between the hours of 1am and 5am.
Protecting the Vulnerable
On the face of it, these changes are aimed at protecting vulnerable people who are susceptible to problem gambling. But there may be more to it, if we take a more cynical viewpoint.
The Spanish government has a monopoly on lotteries in the country, and these regulations only apply to private companies. The lottery sector accounts for around two thirds of the total industry revenue in Spain. This all means that, in effect, the new regulations will severely impede any competitors to the state lotteries.
Spanish operator association JDigital and media association la Asociación de Medios e Información (AMI) have decided not to take the matter lying down and submitted an appeal to the Spanish Supreme Court.
Apart from the unfairness of the new laws they claim that these changes will prevent the most vulnerable from receiving help rather than the other way around.
The recently approved regulation is inconsistent with the reality of the online gambling sector in Spain, clearly disproportionate, and will not only be ineffective in solving the problems that the coalition government parties have been denouncing, without data, for years, but will most likely aggravate them, contributing to a growth of the illegal market not subject to supervision,” JDigital said.
Before long the only way customers will be able to find out about the casino industry will be through review platforms such as Mejor Casino Online.
Politicians are not known for doing a u-turn unless they are under the most severe pressure. Judging by the calamity over the poker regulations changes almost a decade ago we shouldn’t hold our breath in this more recent case.
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