The federal government in Spain enacts a law that will drastically cut down the number of sports betting advertisements.

  • Officials within the Spanish government have announced a plan to drastically reduce sports betting advertising.
  • The plan, which targets the gambling industry as a whole, would reduce advertising by 80 percent.
  • While the decision left many unhappy, it ultimately represents a good compromise for Spain.

MADRID – On Tuesday morning, a left-wing coalition of the Spanish government announced plans to place tight restrictions on advertising related to sports betting. The proposed measures would severely curb advertising measures aimed at young sports fans.

This plan, called the Royal Decree of Commercial Communications for Gambling Activities, would not outright ban sports betting advertising or even paid sponsorships with major professional sports franchises, but it would cut total gambling advertisements by roughly 80 percent.

There are no plans for an outright ban on sports betting, but prominent officials have compared the need for tighter restrictions on gambling advertising to “that of tobacco”, adding that it is a matter of public health.

Teams in La Liga, Spain’s most lucrative professional sports league, will still be permitted to maintain sponsorship deals with sports betting companies and even signage on their team kits.

The restrictions would mostly impact television and radio advertising. Gambling adverts would only be permitted after 8 p.m., while online gambling adverts would only be permitted between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

This would severely decrease the value of La Liga sports betting sponsorships, as the majority of league matches are broadcast between 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The measure would also mandate the removal of any gambling logos on children’s replica shirts sold by Spanish clubs. Eight of La Liga’s 20 teams use a sports betting company as their primary shirt sponsor.

Additionally, gambling companies would be banned from sponsoring team or stadium names in any sport and from using any form of paid advertising with a celebrity or anyone deemed a “well-known personality” by the Spanish government.

It is unclear what exactly constitutes a “well-known personality” in the eyes of the government.

Reaction And Future Implications For Spanish Sports Betting

It appears that parties on both sides are dissatisfied with the government’s measure. Betting firms were understandably alarmed at the potential impact it will have on their revenue, while a major consumer rights group called Facua expressed dissatisfaction, stating that it had hoped for a full betting ban.

The logic behind restricting, but not outright banning sports betting is sound in terms of protecting public health interests. Betting is going to occur regardless, and an outright ban would simply drive bettors to offshore sites.

By keeping sports gambling above board and regulated, the government ensures that it can monitor ongoing betting trends for problematic or addictive behavior.

From a more cynical point of view, it also enables tax collections on gambling revenues, which could amount to millions of euros annually.

In countries with full or widespread bans on gambling, the practice is still extremely common and carries a higher risk of developing into addiction.

Public health studies have indicated that unregulated gambling has a higher correlation with gambling addiction than regulated sports betting.

It appears the Spanish government understands this and plans to continue allowing sports betting in a tightly controlled setting for the foreseeable future. By doing this, it should ensure that its citizens develop the healthiest betting habits possible.

This compromise appears to be in the best interests of Spain’s citizens, its sports betting industry, and the country as a whole.

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