Bingo licensing and regulations in Spain

It is important to highlight that the various formats of gambling products approved and listed above might be permitted in different forms, at both the federal and regional levels different forms of blackjack, roulette, poker, etc.

Loterías y Apuestas del Estado LAE and the National Organisation of the Blind in Spain ONCE maintain the monopoly on lotteries offered at a federal level. Only charitable organisations can organise lotteries, which are therefore a restricted product.

Fantasy sports can be offered at a federal level if they fit under any of the single licences approved by the regulation. Depending on the autonomous region, they can also be offered at a regional level; in both cases, they are subject to licensing. Social gaming is permitted, and these games are not subject to any licence, at a federal or regional level.

Games of skill are outside the scope of the current Spanish regulatory framework and thus, are not subject to licensing. LAE and ONCE maintain the monopoly on lotteries offered at a federal level, and only some regions allow lottery operators.

As explained in 2. There are certain differences among the regions, but the following gaming products are generally permitted:.

The key legislation for land-based and online gambling at a regional level is approved by each of the 17 autonomous regions in Spain and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, so each autonomous region has its own Gambling Act and secondary regulations developing the Gambling Act.

The Gambling Act defines gambling as an activity in which amounts of money or economically measurable objects are put at risk on uncertain and future events, dependent at least to some extent on chance, and that allows these sums to be transferred between the participants, regardless of whether the level of skill of the players is decisive in the results or whether they depend wholly or fundamentally on luck or chance.

The prizes can be in cash or in kind, depending on the type of game. If any of these elements is absent, the game will fall outside the scope of gambling, thus, the corresponding gambling regulation will not be applicable for example, pure skill games will be excluded or prizes in virtual currency with no monetary value.

The Gambling Act defines online gambling as games performed through electronic channels, IT and interactive systems, when any device, equipment or system is employed to produce, store or transfer documents, data or information, including through any public or private communication network.

The communication network can include television, the internet, landlines, mobile phones or any other interactive communication system, in real time or recorded. Given the regulatory distinction regarding the gambling sector in Spain, infractions and the related sanctioning regime are approved by the Spanish Gambling Act and by each autonomous region with respect to its territory and competence.

In both cases, administrative infractions are divided into three groups: very serious, serious and minor. Compiling the different regulations, the key offences can be summarised as indicated below.

Unlawful gambling is sanctioned under the Gambling Act with a fine of between EUR1 million and EUR50 million. In addition to the fine, the regulator is entitled to revoke the licence of the entity carrying out the unlawful gambling, disqualify it from carrying out gambling activities for a maximum of four years, or close the media through which information society services were delivered and which supported the unlawful gambling activities.

Each regional gaming regulation — both online and land-based — approves its own sanctioning regime; however, in most of them, unlawful gaming is sanctioned with a fine of up to EUR, In addition to the fine, regulators are entitled to revoke the licence or to impose a temporary removal of the licence for a maximum of five years.

With the regulation on online gambling advertising published in and the new Royal Decree on safer gambling published in , the legal regime for online gambling at federal level is now duly consolidated, without prejudice to the forthcoming regulations that are currently being updated or developed:.

At the regional level, the most relevant pending legislation in most autonomous regions is still the regulation on advertising and responsible gambling. The regulatory authority for online gambling at the federal level is the DGOJ.

Since November , this authority has been put under the umbrella of the new Ministry of Social Rights, Consumer Affairs and Agenda prior to this, it was under the umbrella of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs for almost four years and under the Ministry of Finance before that and is competent, at the federal level, to:.

The regulatory authority for regional gambling — both online and land-based — depends on each autonomous region. These authorities are usually under the umbrella of the relevant regional departments of finance or the interior. Before discussing the approach to gambling regulation in Spain, a differentiation should be made between:.

Online gambling can be offered at a federal or regional level. Customarily, entities apply for federal licences since this way they can offer online gambling in the whole territory without having to apply for licences at a regional level. To offer online gambling in Spain at a federal level, entities must obtain a general licence for each category of game betting, contest or other games and a single licence for each type of game included in its general licence category.

The regulatory approach to land-based gambling is based on the licensing or authorisation regime approved by each autonomous region. The requirements and conditions vary depending on the region and type of licence that an entity is interested in applying for. Please refer to 3.

Other than these, there have been no significant changes to the licensing and regulatory framework in Spain over the past year. For example, an entity that wishes to commercialise bingo, baccarat and poker will need one general licence other games and three single licences bingo, baccarat and poker.

In other words, general licences per se are not valid to offer games; to do so, the entity will also need to obtain a single licence for each type of game within its category. General licences can only be obtained through a public tender process announced by the DGOJ.

Entities can apply for single licences together with the general licence or at any other time, provided that they have already been granted and still hold the relevant general licence.

Each region has competence to establish its own licences and its own licensing procedure and regime. There have been three public calls for general licences for online gambling at the federal level since the approval of the Spanish Gambling Act in in , and None of the three public tenders limited the number of operators that could be granted a licence, nor the number of licences to be granted.

In other words, all those operators that met the requirements established within the tender obtained the licence. The Spanish regulation permits any interested party to request a new call for gambling licences at least 18 months after the previous call. The processes for regional land-based licences are approved by each autonomous region and, depending on the type of licence and region, there can be limits on the number of licences available for example, licences for betting shops in the Canary Islands or the licences can be limited to one and subject to a public tender process as is the case, for example, for licences for land-based casinos.

General licences are valid for ten years, extendable by another ten. Single licences have a minimum duration of one year and a maximum duration of five, depending on the type of gambling product, and these are also extendable by successive periods of the same duration. The expiry of the general licence that the single licence is linked to implies the expiry of the single licence as well.

The duration of licences depends on each region and type of licence. Customarily, licences are valid for ten years, extendable by another ten. Although there are differences between the application requirements for land-based operators with slight differences among the regions and online operators subject to the Gambling Act, the requirements are always divided into three sections to prove legal, economic and technical solvency.

The timing of the application process depends on the applicable regulation, type of licence and conditions approved by the corresponding public tender, if applicable. For instance, the last window to apply for general licences for online gambling at a federal level was opened for one year, with interested parties being entitled to apply for their licences between December and December The DGOJ had a term of six months from the submission of the relevant applications to issue or refuse the licences.

Initially, the licences are granted with a provisional nature. To obtain definitive licences, operators must submit the definitive certification report of the technical systems to the DGOJ within a maximum term of four months from the provisional granting.

Once the certification documentation is submitted, the DGOJ proceeds with the review and the granting of the definitive licences within a maximum term of two months.

Operators can start operating with the provisional licence. The duration of regional licences depends on each regional regulation and, if applicable, on the conditions of the public tender process.

Customarily, it takes between three and six months from the submission of the application for the regulator to review and proceed with the granting of the relevant licence.

For online gambling licence applications at a federal level, entities must pay the following administrative fees:. For regional licence applications, the cost depends on the region and the type of licence applied for. For online gambling licences at a federal level, there is an annual fee of 0.

Each region has its own regulation for each type of premises licensing: casinos, gaming halls, bingos and betting shops. Therefore, the requirements for licensing depend on the premises and the autonomous region in question. Also, in some cases, casino premises for example, licensing is subject to a public tender process.

Notwithstanding the above-mentioned regional variation, in general terms the requested documentation aims to prove the legal, technical and economic solvency of the applicant. The main requirements and differences that can be identified are as follows:.

The land-based gambling sector is still implementing certain changes, with the aim of reinforcing the protection of vulnerable individuals and tightening the regulation of gambling advertising. The main changes in this regard are as follows. This positioned the Balearic Island at the forefront of regions pioneering measures to combat gambling addiction.

With the application of the new Balearic regulations, slot machines will cease to emit lights or sounds, remain dormant when not in use, and incorporate a start-up screen that will ask the user about their legal age and warn them about the potential risks of addiction associated with the game.

Included among the significant changes in this new regulation is a provision requiring a minimum distance of metres between gaming establishments and educational centres, as well as the prohibition on cash withdrawals from point of sales terminals with credit cards within the premises of gaming establishments.

On 4 July , a new Gambling Law was issued in Galicia. This law dictates that leisure and dining venues, which do not primarily serve as gaming establishments, are now limited to two recreational machines each.

Bars are permitted to host type A special slot machines and type B betting machines. Bingo halls can additionally include type B special machines, whereas casinos are allowed type C machines, which are entirely based on chance and offer larger prizes.

In response to public concerns, the law has changed the distance regulations between gaming establishments and educational centres. The required distance has been increased from metres to Notwithstanding this, it should be noted that existing gaming establishments are given a year grace period to comply, but must adhere to the new distance if relocating.

Valencia, for example, mandates a metre separation between gaming halls, and an metre gap between these and educational centres. Andalusia requires a smaller, metre distance, while Barcelona enforces a larger metre one. Recently, the Superior Court of Justice of the Valencian Community TSJCV submitted a consultation to the Court of Justice of the European Union CJEU , to evaluate whether the stipulated distances in Valencia metres between gaming halls and metres from educational centres to gaming halls possibly unfairly disadvantage private companies, and whether they comply with the principles of freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services, as defined by the European Union.

The implications are profound, with four appeals lodged by gaming sector business associations against these measures held in suspension. As a consequence of the approval of the Royal Decree on commercial communications for online gambling activities at a federal level in , most of the regions in Spain announced their intention to proceed with the adaptation of their regulations to that Royal Decree.

Valencia is the region with the most restrictive regulation on gambling advertising and, as a result, any type of gambling advertising or promotional activity has been prohibited. Spanish gambling regulation does not distinguish between B2C and B2B licences, nor between the law applicable to the operations of one operator and another.

Entities that meet the above requirements and also manage gaming platforms in which they are members, or that other gaming operators join, pooling together stakes coming from their respective users, will be considered as gaming operators and gaming co-organisers.

If a B2B operator meets the requirements established by the regulation, it is subject to licensing and, technically speaking, will be considered a gaming operator. Consequently, the inclusion of a B2B operator within the definition of a gaming operator, and its requirement to be licensed, depends on the services that said operator intends to provide within Spain, along with the conditions related to that service.

Affiliates do not need to hold a licence in Spain as long as they do not register clients or maintain an agreement or gaming account with them. The new regulation on advertising establishes a new requirement by which an operator is prohibited from using brands or trade names that are not owned by said operator or by the business group to which such operator belongs, to identify and differentiate itself from other operators.

Consequently, it may also be subject to licensing. Central to these adjustments is an array of notifications which operators are obligated to supply at specific intervals — for example, when certain predetermined thresholds or events are reached.

The key objective is to ensure that participants have access to the necessary information to formulate educated judgements ahead of time and allow them to rectify their behaviour. Additional noteworthy amendments include prohibitions placed on the aforementioned groups of participants, ranging from a ban on using credit cards to the prohibition of accessing VIP schemes and a restriction on receiving commercial communications.

The proposed modification is designed to establish a financial restriction on the cumulative deposits that an individual participant can submit across all gaming accounts associated with any of their user registries held with licenced gambling operators. This proposal aims to enhance the protection provided to participants holding gaming accounts with multiple operators.

Thus, the DGOJ will use this opportunity to revise Annex I of the Royal Decree, particularly regarding the amounts and legal form of the establishment of guarantees by gambling operators.

The period for public consultation, allowing the public to participate by offering suggestions, concluded on 16 October Draft Resolution Approving the New Data Model and Modifying Annexes I of Two Resolutions. On 7 July , the DGOJ initiated a public consultation period on the draft Resolution approving the new Data Model and modifying Annexes I:.

The purpose of these modifications is to adapt the existing Resolutions to recent regulatory changes, most notably, the Royal Decree on Gambling Advertising and Responsible Gambling, which have imposed additional obligations onto operators which could be monitored by the DGOJ, through the introduction of the necessary changes to the data model of the monitoring system.

The consultation, in which the public could participate with suggestions or concerns, concluded on 7 September On 27 April , the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the draft law regulating customer services, the main objective of which is to alleviate the deficiencies detected in the provision of this type of service by large companies and to better safeguard consumer rights.

The draft law arises from numerous consumer complaints centred around inefficient customer service, typically within larger entities. This regulation, also foresees the possibility that small and medium-sized companies and financially struggling companies will not be affected by the regulation, as they are not the main generators of these complaints.

Notably, some online gambling operators, determined by annual income, may fall under this regulation. The draft law encourages consumer rights and establishes base-line quality standards for customer services across sectors including utility providers, transportation, postal services, conditional access to audiovisual media and electronic communications services.

Companies are expected to maintain satisfactory services to inform, handle, and resolve customer complaints. The regulation does not contain specific technical measures to protect consumers from unlicensed operators. However, the DGOJ is entitled to request that internet service providers and financial entities adopt blocking measures within sanctioning procedures initiated against illegal operators.

In this sense, blocking access from Spanish IP addresses and payment-blocking are the most common measures. Indeed, the DGOJ has committed to continue intensifying the existing policy of domain name system DNS -blocking and monitoring payment traffic to identify the main black-market operators targeting the Spanish market.

Somewhat related to the above, the most recent modification of the Spanish Gambling Act incorporated the following new types of infractions:. The gambling sector is fully committed to the detection of participation in gambling activities by minors and vulnerable groups. The aim of the responsible gambling requirements is to prevent and correct the negative effects of gambling through the application of different measures.

Most of the responsible gaming requirements are compulsory for online operators. The requirements for land-based operators vary by region and premises, and some land-based operators apply additional responsible gambling measures in their businesses, at their own initiative.

Key requirements include the prohibition of loans to players, the need to provide clear and accurate information to participants, accessible customer service for player complaints, and the facilitation of a customer support hotline by online operators at the federal level.

Operators are also obliged to inform players about the General Register of Gambling Access Bans RGIAJ and offer self-exclusion options. Responsible gambling tests are also mandatory to detect potential gambling issues.

As explained in 6. The regulation includes the introduction of two new subcategories within the existing grouping of vulnerable participants. The first of these subgroups includes young participants below the age of As it pertains to young participants, net weekly losses for intensive players are those that equal or surpass EUR for three successive weeks.

Other distinctive constraints introduced by the DGOJ for these vulnerable groups include a credit card usage ban for intensive players and those exhibiting risky behaviour; barring access to VIP schemes for younger and risky players and limiting the extent of commercial communication for this latter group.

This concern is expressed in the implementation of measures such as the amplification of mandatory messages that operators must send to users under various circumstances. For instance, their classification as part of a vulnerable group, information on their gambling patterns, and in-session games allow users to maintain a thorough understanding of their gambling habits, time spent playing, and money expended.

This is a deviation from the previous regime, which applied these limits solely to slot games. As detailed throughout 7. Responsible Gambling RG , Also Known as Safer Gambling SG , the Spanish authorities have created different tools for operators and citizens in order to promote responsible gambling.

Through an inscription in the RGIAJ, an individual is fully prohibited from accessing gambling activity applicable to online and land-based gambling. The register is formed of the data of citizens that voluntarily do not wish to exercise their rights to gamble and of those that are declared incapacitated by a legal ruling.

The DGOJ offers online operators a tool to proceed with the ID verification of their customers resident in Spain. Operators can also check whether the customer is registered with the RGIAJ with this tool, and whether the data provided by the customer corresponds to a minor or to individuals included in the Civil Registry as deceased.

The DGOJ has launched a service addressed to all citizens in order for the operator to detect and communicate an attempt of activation of a user registration when the identity data provided matches the data of an individual who is registered with this service. No specific AML guidance relevant to the gambling sector is available in Spain, nor has anything been published in this regard by the DGOJ or the Executive Service of the Commission for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Monetary Offences SEPBLAC.

The Spanish AML regulation establishes the instructions, proceedings and duties that online and land-based gambling operators need to apply for the prevention of money laundering. Contrary to what happens, for instance, in the UK, in Spain there is no specific regulatory or supervisory agency for advertising.

In spite of that, in the case of online gambling at the federal level, the DGOJ supervises compliance with the applicable advertising rules by the gambling operators and sanctions them if they breach those regulations. For audiovisual communication service providers rendering services to gambling operators, the authority to launch proceedings and sanction lies not only with the DGOJ but also with the National Commission of Markets and Competence CNMC.

Gambling operators must be duly licensed by the regulator to advertise their products. According to Article 7. The same is true at regional level.

Any advertising third-party provider must confirm that its client gambling operator is duly licensed according to Article 7. Infringements in the Gambling Law fall into two categories:.

Both infractions are qualified as serious infractions and are therefore subject to fines of between EUR, and EUR1 million and to the suspension of activity in Spain for a maximum period of six months.

Each autonomous region individually approves sanctions for regional land-based and online gambling. The current legislation applicable to the advertising of gambling operators — and their products — is as follows:.

The most important restriction is that gambling products can only be advertised by licensed operators. The present restrictions on gambling advertising aim to shield consumers.

The main principles include legality, honesty, identification, veracity, societal responsibility, responsible gaming, underage protection, especially enforcing restrictions during watershed hours.

Its regulation and requirements entered into force mostly throughout The most relevant restrictions implemented by this Decree applicable to the online gambling sector include:.

Please note that social gaming products can generally be advertised without the restrictions applicable to gambling products. In terms of advertising for online gambling regulated at the federal level, Articles 40 d and e of the Gambling Act state the relevant applicable infractions, which are subject to the same sanctions:.

Following its entry into force, the Royal Decree on commercial communications for gambling activities was challenged before the Spanish Supreme Court by key stakeholders such as the Spanish Association on Online Gambling Jdigital , the Information Media Association and the Football League.

This article, which governs the boundaries of gambling advertising, was compared to Article The Constitutional Court is set to scrutinise the legality of Article 7.

Despite the ongoing dispute, the decree remains binding. Acquisitions and changes of control are not subject to the prior approval of the regulator. However, it should always be taken into account that if, as a result of said acquisition, any of the conditions of the operator company that were disclosed to the regulator at the time of applying for the relevant licences were affected or changed for instance, the solvency of the group, the intercompany agreements for the provision of services or the directors of the operator company , then the operator company will not only have to notify the regulator of the change of control within one month from its completion but also file the documents evidencing any of those material changes that have taken place as a result of the acquisition.

Despite the fact that a change of control does not require the prior approval of the regulator, it is always advisable to contact the regulator before completing the change of control to ascertain any possible concerns it might have regarding the transaction. Regulatory bodies are legally allowed not only to impose economic sanctions but also to revoke or suspend licences.

Regulators could even suspend gambling licences or seize any assets or documents related to, and needed for, the licensed activity as a precautionary measure. Economic sanctions may be enforced through the exercise of the relevant guarantees submitted by the operators before the regulator to cover their liabilities and potential consequences that arise as a result of a breach of their obligations as operators.

If these guarantees are not enough to cover a certain liability, the sanctions imposed by the regulator could be enforced through common civil remedies the seizure of assets, goods, shares, deposits, etc.

As mentioned in On 16 November , left-wing parties were elected again in Spain. With this, a series of changes have taken place in the government, including changes in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, which is directly responsible for the DGOJ.

First of all, it should be noted that Mr Alberto Garzón, until now Minister for Consumer Affairs, has been replaced by Mr Pablo Bustinduy.

The new Minister is known for having participated in the creation of the political party Podemos which espoused an extreme left-wing ideology and is now a sympathiser of the political party Sumar also a party of the far left.

Another notable change is the disappearance of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs itself and its integration within the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda Therefore, the DGOJ is now under the umbrella of the new Ministry of Social Rights, Consumer Affairs and Agenda For this new legislature, the programme of the Ministry foresees the approval of several laws, including the law on general contracting conditions and the law regulating customer services, which failed to be approved by the last legislature.

On this basis, no major changes are expected in the future of the Ministry and in terms of the gambling industry, as both the former and current Ministers have a similar political approach.

Barring any surprises, the current regulator at the DGOJ, Mr Mikel Arana, will be replaced in the next few months. The tax rate applicable to the land-based sector is approved by each regional regulation and therefore varies depending on the region. As an example, in the region of Madrid, the applicable taxes are as follows:.

In addition, there are fixed rates that apply to operating betting terminals or automatic appliances that are suitable for the development of games. On 16 November , left-wing parties were elected again. Following this, a series of changes have taken place in the Spanish government, including changes in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, which is directly responsible for the DGOJ.

First of all, it should be noted that Alberto Garzón, until now Minister for Consumer Affairs, has been replaced by Pablo Bustinduy. The new Minister is known for having participated in the creation of the staunchly left-wing political party Podemos and is now a sympathiser of the political party Sumar also of the extreme left.

Another notable change consists of the disappearance of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs itself and its integration within the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda For this new legislature, the programme of the Ministry foresees the approval of several laws, including the law on general contracting conditions and the law regulating customer services, which failed to be approved in the last legislature.

Barring any surprises, the current regulator at the DGOJ, Mikel Arana, will be replaced in the next few months. Avenida Jaime III, 1 Primera Planta Palma de Mallorca Islas Baleares Spain.

In recent years, Spain has witnessed a significant transformation of its gambling sector. What was once an attractive, competitive and — one could even say — exemplary industry, has undergone a fundamental shift, largely driven by the adoption of new regulatory restrictions by the government, pushed by populist and left-wing political parties.

The government has taken substantial measures to assert greater control over the gambling industry, primarily fuelled by concerns about the social and public health implications of excessive gambling.

However, as this article will explore, the proposed solutions do not always align with the intended objectives and with the actual problem experienced by the market.

A particular focus will be the most recent regulatory development, namely the Royal Decree aimed at creating safer gaming environments and examining potential future implementations. Additionally, this article will explore the rising trend of fraudulent practices within the gambling sector, commending the remarkable efforts of Spanish organisations dedicated to combating these illicit activities and shedding light on their critical role in preserving the integrity of the industry.

In the ever-evolving landscape of gambling regulation and given the emerging challenges, the authors aim to provide insights into the current state of the Spanish gambling industry, assess the impact of recent regulatory changes, and offer a glimpse into what the future may hold for both operators and players in this dynamic sector.

Even though the Spanish gambling market has numerous measures and requirements through the gambling regulations that are aimed at ensuring a safe environment for consumers in the gambling industry, a new regulation in the form of a Royal Decree was approved on 14 March and came into force on 15 September The Law foresees three types of licenses: General License, Singular License and Authorisation.

General Licenses: These licenses authorise operators to offer those games classified within the categories of Lotteries, Bets, Raffles, Contests and Other games casino games. The licenses that can only be obtained during the licensing windows are those for Bets, Other games and Contests.

These General Licenses shall be valid for 10 years and may be renewed for an equal period of time. In accordance with the regulations, those operators who provide their gaming services to customers and own a gaming platform will be required to obtain a license.

In this sense, it refers to companies that manage the gaming platforms of which other operators are members or adhere to.

This refers particularly to the networks of poker and bingo, or other networks managed by a co-organising company. Singular Licenses: These licenses can only be obtained by those operators who have previously obtained the corresponding General License above.

So, each Singular License must be granted under the umbrella of a General License. Unlike General Licenses, there is not a specific licensing window for Singular Licenses, as long as the company already has the corresponding General License.

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Contrary to UK rules and regulations, the act of bingo is widely unlawful in Spain with only a handful of venues and online platforms being able to legally An overview of the law and regulations governing land-based gambling in Spain, including licensing requirements, location restrictions Betting, poker, bingo, casinos and gaming machines are permitted and subject to licensing. LAE and ONCE maintain the monopoly on lotteries

Bingo licensing and regulations in Spain - Bingo halls (depending on the Region): the licence may be indefinite, e.g., Andalusia; 10 years, e.g., Valencia; or five years, e.g., the Contrary to UK rules and regulations, the act of bingo is widely unlawful in Spain with only a handful of venues and online platforms being able to legally An overview of the law and regulations governing land-based gambling in Spain, including licensing requirements, location restrictions Betting, poker, bingo, casinos and gaming machines are permitted and subject to licensing. LAE and ONCE maintain the monopoly on lotteries

Enter your email address below to join the mailing list:. Whilst in the UK we no longer see Bingo as a negative social activity, a causal game in a local bar in Malia could see you loosing some of your prize money. Cases such as this have been documented quite frequently lately with a fair amount of coverage in Expat focused tabloids and news platforms.

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The land-based gambling sector is still implementing certain changes, with the aim of reinforcing the protection of vulnerable individuals and tightening the regulation of gambling advertising.

The main changes in this regard are as follows. This positioned the Balearic Island at the forefront of regions pioneering measures to combat gambling addiction. With the application of the new Balearic regulations, slot machines will cease to emit lights or sounds, remain dormant when not in use, and incorporate a start-up screen that will ask the user about their legal age and warn them about the potential risks of addiction associated with the game.

Included among the significant changes in this new regulation is a provision requiring a minimum distance of metres between gaming establishments and educational centres, as well as the prohibition on cash withdrawals from point of sales terminals with credit cards within the premises of gaming establishments.

On 4 July , a new Gambling Law was issued in Galicia. This law dictates that leisure and dining venues, which do not primarily serve as gaming establishments, are now limited to two recreational machines each.

Bars are permitted to host type A special slot machines and type B betting machines. Bingo halls can additionally include type B special machines, whereas casinos are allowed type C machines, which are entirely based on chance and offer larger prizes.

In response to public concerns, the law has changed the distance regulations between gaming establishments and educational centres. The required distance has been increased from metres to Notwithstanding this, it should be noted that existing gaming establishments are given a year grace period to comply, but must adhere to the new distance if relocating.

Valencia, for example, mandates a metre separation between gaming halls, and an metre gap between these and educational centres. Andalusia requires a smaller, metre distance, while Barcelona enforces a larger metre one.

Recently, the Superior Court of Justice of the Valencian Community TSJCV submitted a consultation to the Court of Justice of the European Union CJEU , to evaluate whether the stipulated distances in Valencia metres between gaming halls and metres from educational centres to gaming halls possibly unfairly disadvantage private companies, and whether they comply with the principles of freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services, as defined by the European Union.

The implications are profound, with four appeals lodged by gaming sector business associations against these measures held in suspension. As a consequence of the approval of the Royal Decree on commercial communications for online gambling activities at a federal level in , most of the regions in Spain announced their intention to proceed with the adaptation of their regulations to that Royal Decree.

Valencia is the region with the most restrictive regulation on gambling advertising and, as a result, any type of gambling advertising or promotional activity has been prohibited. Spanish gambling regulation does not distinguish between B2C and B2B licences, nor between the law applicable to the operations of one operator and another.

Entities that meet the above requirements and also manage gaming platforms in which they are members, or that other gaming operators join, pooling together stakes coming from their respective users, will be considered as gaming operators and gaming co-organisers.

If a B2B operator meets the requirements established by the regulation, it is subject to licensing and, technically speaking, will be considered a gaming operator.

Consequently, the inclusion of a B2B operator within the definition of a gaming operator, and its requirement to be licensed, depends on the services that said operator intends to provide within Spain, along with the conditions related to that service.

Affiliates do not need to hold a licence in Spain as long as they do not register clients or maintain an agreement or gaming account with them. The new regulation on advertising establishes a new requirement by which an operator is prohibited from using brands or trade names that are not owned by said operator or by the business group to which such operator belongs, to identify and differentiate itself from other operators.

Consequently, it may also be subject to licensing. Central to these adjustments is an array of notifications which operators are obligated to supply at specific intervals — for example, when certain predetermined thresholds or events are reached.

The key objective is to ensure that participants have access to the necessary information to formulate educated judgements ahead of time and allow them to rectify their behaviour.

Additional noteworthy amendments include prohibitions placed on the aforementioned groups of participants, ranging from a ban on using credit cards to the prohibition of accessing VIP schemes and a restriction on receiving commercial communications. The proposed modification is designed to establish a financial restriction on the cumulative deposits that an individual participant can submit across all gaming accounts associated with any of their user registries held with licenced gambling operators.

This proposal aims to enhance the protection provided to participants holding gaming accounts with multiple operators. Thus, the DGOJ will use this opportunity to revise Annex I of the Royal Decree, particularly regarding the amounts and legal form of the establishment of guarantees by gambling operators.

The period for public consultation, allowing the public to participate by offering suggestions, concluded on 16 October Draft Resolution Approving the New Data Model and Modifying Annexes I of Two Resolutions.

On 7 July , the DGOJ initiated a public consultation period on the draft Resolution approving the new Data Model and modifying Annexes I:. The purpose of these modifications is to adapt the existing Resolutions to recent regulatory changes, most notably, the Royal Decree on Gambling Advertising and Responsible Gambling, which have imposed additional obligations onto operators which could be monitored by the DGOJ, through the introduction of the necessary changes to the data model of the monitoring system.

The consultation, in which the public could participate with suggestions or concerns, concluded on 7 September On 27 April , the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the draft law regulating customer services, the main objective of which is to alleviate the deficiencies detected in the provision of this type of service by large companies and to better safeguard consumer rights.

The draft law arises from numerous consumer complaints centred around inefficient customer service, typically within larger entities. This regulation, also foresees the possibility that small and medium-sized companies and financially struggling companies will not be affected by the regulation, as they are not the main generators of these complaints.

Notably, some online gambling operators, determined by annual income, may fall under this regulation. The draft law encourages consumer rights and establishes base-line quality standards for customer services across sectors including utility providers, transportation, postal services, conditional access to audiovisual media and electronic communications services.

Companies are expected to maintain satisfactory services to inform, handle, and resolve customer complaints. The regulation does not contain specific technical measures to protect consumers from unlicensed operators.

However, the DGOJ is entitled to request that internet service providers and financial entities adopt blocking measures within sanctioning procedures initiated against illegal operators. In this sense, blocking access from Spanish IP addresses and payment-blocking are the most common measures.

Indeed, the DGOJ has committed to continue intensifying the existing policy of domain name system DNS -blocking and monitoring payment traffic to identify the main black-market operators targeting the Spanish market.

Somewhat related to the above, the most recent modification of the Spanish Gambling Act incorporated the following new types of infractions:.

The gambling sector is fully committed to the detection of participation in gambling activities by minors and vulnerable groups. The aim of the responsible gambling requirements is to prevent and correct the negative effects of gambling through the application of different measures.

Most of the responsible gaming requirements are compulsory for online operators. The requirements for land-based operators vary by region and premises, and some land-based operators apply additional responsible gambling measures in their businesses, at their own initiative.

Key requirements include the prohibition of loans to players, the need to provide clear and accurate information to participants, accessible customer service for player complaints, and the facilitation of a customer support hotline by online operators at the federal level.

Operators are also obliged to inform players about the General Register of Gambling Access Bans RGIAJ and offer self-exclusion options. Responsible gambling tests are also mandatory to detect potential gambling issues. As explained in 6.

The regulation includes the introduction of two new subcategories within the existing grouping of vulnerable participants. The first of these subgroups includes young participants below the age of As it pertains to young participants, net weekly losses for intensive players are those that equal or surpass EUR for three successive weeks.

Other distinctive constraints introduced by the DGOJ for these vulnerable groups include a credit card usage ban for intensive players and those exhibiting risky behaviour; barring access to VIP schemes for younger and risky players and limiting the extent of commercial communication for this latter group.

This concern is expressed in the implementation of measures such as the amplification of mandatory messages that operators must send to users under various circumstances. For instance, their classification as part of a vulnerable group, information on their gambling patterns, and in-session games allow users to maintain a thorough understanding of their gambling habits, time spent playing, and money expended.

This is a deviation from the previous regime, which applied these limits solely to slot games. As detailed throughout 7. Responsible Gambling RG , Also Known as Safer Gambling SG , the Spanish authorities have created different tools for operators and citizens in order to promote responsible gambling.

Through an inscription in the RGIAJ, an individual is fully prohibited from accessing gambling activity applicable to online and land-based gambling. The register is formed of the data of citizens that voluntarily do not wish to exercise their rights to gamble and of those that are declared incapacitated by a legal ruling.

The DGOJ offers online operators a tool to proceed with the ID verification of their customers resident in Spain. Operators can also check whether the customer is registered with the RGIAJ with this tool, and whether the data provided by the customer corresponds to a minor or to individuals included in the Civil Registry as deceased.

The DGOJ has launched a service addressed to all citizens in order for the operator to detect and communicate an attempt of activation of a user registration when the identity data provided matches the data of an individual who is registered with this service.

No specific AML guidance relevant to the gambling sector is available in Spain, nor has anything been published in this regard by the DGOJ or the Executive Service of the Commission for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Monetary Offences SEPBLAC.

The Spanish AML regulation establishes the instructions, proceedings and duties that online and land-based gambling operators need to apply for the prevention of money laundering. Contrary to what happens, for instance, in the UK, in Spain there is no specific regulatory or supervisory agency for advertising.

In spite of that, in the case of online gambling at the federal level, the DGOJ supervises compliance with the applicable advertising rules by the gambling operators and sanctions them if they breach those regulations.

For audiovisual communication service providers rendering services to gambling operators, the authority to launch proceedings and sanction lies not only with the DGOJ but also with the National Commission of Markets and Competence CNMC. Gambling operators must be duly licensed by the regulator to advertise their products.

According to Article 7. The same is true at regional level. Any advertising third-party provider must confirm that its client gambling operator is duly licensed according to Article 7.

Infringements in the Gambling Law fall into two categories:. Both infractions are qualified as serious infractions and are therefore subject to fines of between EUR, and EUR1 million and to the suspension of activity in Spain for a maximum period of six months.

Each autonomous region individually approves sanctions for regional land-based and online gambling. The current legislation applicable to the advertising of gambling operators — and their products — is as follows:.

The most important restriction is that gambling products can only be advertised by licensed operators. The present restrictions on gambling advertising aim to shield consumers. The main principles include legality, honesty, identification, veracity, societal responsibility, responsible gaming, underage protection, especially enforcing restrictions during watershed hours.

Its regulation and requirements entered into force mostly throughout The most relevant restrictions implemented by this Decree applicable to the online gambling sector include:. Please note that social gaming products can generally be advertised without the restrictions applicable to gambling products.

In terms of advertising for online gambling regulated at the federal level, Articles 40 d and e of the Gambling Act state the relevant applicable infractions, which are subject to the same sanctions:.

Following its entry into force, the Royal Decree on commercial communications for gambling activities was challenged before the Spanish Supreme Court by key stakeholders such as the Spanish Association on Online Gambling Jdigital , the Information Media Association and the Football League.

This article, which governs the boundaries of gambling advertising, was compared to Article The Constitutional Court is set to scrutinise the legality of Article 7. Despite the ongoing dispute, the decree remains binding. Acquisitions and changes of control are not subject to the prior approval of the regulator.

However, it should always be taken into account that if, as a result of said acquisition, any of the conditions of the operator company that were disclosed to the regulator at the time of applying for the relevant licences were affected or changed for instance, the solvency of the group, the intercompany agreements for the provision of services or the directors of the operator company , then the operator company will not only have to notify the regulator of the change of control within one month from its completion but also file the documents evidencing any of those material changes that have taken place as a result of the acquisition.

Despite the fact that a change of control does not require the prior approval of the regulator, it is always advisable to contact the regulator before completing the change of control to ascertain any possible concerns it might have regarding the transaction.

Regulatory bodies are legally allowed not only to impose economic sanctions but also to revoke or suspend licences. Regulators could even suspend gambling licences or seize any assets or documents related to, and needed for, the licensed activity as a precautionary measure. Economic sanctions may be enforced through the exercise of the relevant guarantees submitted by the operators before the regulator to cover their liabilities and potential consequences that arise as a result of a breach of their obligations as operators.

If these guarantees are not enough to cover a certain liability, the sanctions imposed by the regulator could be enforced through common civil remedies the seizure of assets, goods, shares, deposits, etc. As mentioned in On 16 November , left-wing parties were elected again in Spain. With this, a series of changes have taken place in the government, including changes in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, which is directly responsible for the DGOJ.

First of all, it should be noted that Mr Alberto Garzón, until now Minister for Consumer Affairs, has been replaced by Mr Pablo Bustinduy. The new Minister is known for having participated in the creation of the political party Podemos which espoused an extreme left-wing ideology and is now a sympathiser of the political party Sumar also a party of the far left.

Another notable change is the disappearance of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs itself and its integration within the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda Therefore, the DGOJ is now under the umbrella of the new Ministry of Social Rights, Consumer Affairs and Agenda For this new legislature, the programme of the Ministry foresees the approval of several laws, including the law on general contracting conditions and the law regulating customer services, which failed to be approved by the last legislature.

On this basis, no major changes are expected in the future of the Ministry and in terms of the gambling industry, as both the former and current Ministers have a similar political approach.

Barring any surprises, the current regulator at the DGOJ, Mr Mikel Arana, will be replaced in the next few months. The tax rate applicable to the land-based sector is approved by each regional regulation and therefore varies depending on the region.

As an example, in the region of Madrid, the applicable taxes are as follows:. In addition, there are fixed rates that apply to operating betting terminals or automatic appliances that are suitable for the development of games.

On 16 November , left-wing parties were elected again. Following this, a series of changes have taken place in the Spanish government, including changes in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, which is directly responsible for the DGOJ.

First of all, it should be noted that Alberto Garzón, until now Minister for Consumer Affairs, has been replaced by Pablo Bustinduy. The new Minister is known for having participated in the creation of the staunchly left-wing political party Podemos and is now a sympathiser of the political party Sumar also of the extreme left.

Another notable change consists of the disappearance of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs itself and its integration within the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda For this new legislature, the programme of the Ministry foresees the approval of several laws, including the law on general contracting conditions and the law regulating customer services, which failed to be approved in the last legislature.

Barring any surprises, the current regulator at the DGOJ, Mikel Arana, will be replaced in the next few months. Avenida Jaime III, 1 Primera Planta Palma de Mallorca Islas Baleares Spain. Chambers and Partners website Toggle navigation. Last Updated November 28, Expand All.

Regulatory Trends The regulatory regime for gambling in Spain is aimed at reinforcing: the protection of players; public order; and the prevention of addictive behaviour, fraud and money laundering.

Gambling Sector Growth The online gambling industry, according to the latest quarterly report Q2 issued by the Spanish gambling regulator, saw a robust 2.

General Regulation Gambling regulation in Spain is divided between online gambling that is offered at a federal level, and land-based or online gambling that is offered within one region.

The following games have been regulated so far, and are therefore permitted to be offered at a federal level: pools on sports betting; fixed-odds sports betting; pools on horse racing; fixed-odds horse racing; other fixed-odds betting; exchange sports betting; exchange horse racing; other exchange betting games; contests; poker; bingo; roulette; complementary games; blackjack; baccarat; and slots.

There are some minor differences between the regions, but the following gaming products are generally approved and permitted: roulette; blackjack; boule; trente et quarante; craps; baccarat; poker; slots and other machine gaming; bingo; raffles; tombola or charity raffles; betting; sports betting; horse racing; and Wheel of Fortune.

Sector-Specific Regulation Loterías y Apuestas del Estado LAE and the National Organisation of the Blind in Spain ONCE maintain the monopoly on lotteries offered at a federal level.

Betting, poker, bingo, casinos and gaming machines are permitted and subject to licensing. There are certain differences among the regions, but the following gaming products are generally permitted: roulette; blackjack; boule; trente et quarante; craps; baccarat; poker; slots and other machine gaming; bingo; raffles; tombola or charity raffles; betting; sports betting; horse racing; and Wheel of Fortune.

Regional Legislation The key legislation for land-based and online gambling at a regional level is approved by each of the 17 autonomous regions in Spain and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, so each autonomous region has its own Gambling Act and secondary regulations developing the Gambling Act.

There is no specific or separate definition for land-based gambling. Very serious infractions include: operating without the necessary licence; the organisation, commercialisation, exploitation or promotion of illegal games; transferring a licence without the prior consent of the relevant gaming authority; the manipulation of technical systems or the use of systems or terminals not authorised by the relevant gaming authority; the unjustified and repeated non-payment of prizes to gambling participants; and the supply of technical support to unlicensed operators.

Minor infractions include: non-compliance with the obligations contained in the applicable regulations, provided that they are not explicitly typified as serious or very serious infractions; not properly informing the public about the prohibition on participation or access for minors and persons included in the General Game Access Interdiction Register; a lack of mandatory information being provided from the operator to players; and the participation from Spain, through the use of Spanish territorial IP address masking techniques, in gambling activities offered through websites other than those legally authorised by gambling operators with a licence in Spain.

Unlawful gambling is classified as a very serious infraction at both federal and regional level. The key aspects for consideration entail the proposed amendments, allowing the location of internal control system ICS in any European country rather than exclusively in Spain, together with the reduced ICS data retention period, decreasing from six to four years.

Since November , this authority has been put under the umbrella of the new Ministry of Social Rights, Consumer Affairs and Agenda prior to this, it was under the umbrella of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs for almost four years and under the Ministry of Finance before that and is competent, at the federal level, to: issue federal licences; draft regulation; supervise games; and supervise the enforcement and sanctioning of gambling activities.

Before discussing the approach to gambling regulation in Spain, a differentiation should be made between: regulation at a federal level, which only refers to online gambling; and regulation at a regional level, which includes both online and land-based gambling.

Online Gambling Online gambling can be offered at a federal or regional level. Land-Based Gambling The regulatory approach to land-based gambling is based on the licensing or authorisation regime approved by each autonomous region.

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Relocating to Spain as a European Union Citizen - EU Registration Certificate Guide Three tenders have Binyo called to date. The new snd on eegulations establishes a new Spaiin by which an operator is prohibited from using brands or trade names that are not owned by said operator or casino móvil en español the business group to Estrategias para apostar de manera segura y responsable such operator belongs, to identify and differentiate itself from other operators. The online gambling industry, according to the latest quarterly report Q2 issued by the Spanish gambling regulator, saw a robust 2. This proposal aims to enhance the protection provided to participants holding gaming accounts with multiple operators. Entities that meet the above requirements and also manage gaming platforms in which they are members, or that other gaming operators join, pooling together stakes coming from their respective users, will be considered as gaming operators and gaming co-organisers. Gaming Law 2023

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