The new Spanish regulation on commercial communications for gambling activities (Real Decreto 958/2020, de 3 de noviembre, de comunicaciones comerciales) has been approved this week, bringing forth a series of changes on the advertising of this service that will undoubtedly send ripples throughout the whole sector. This RD is applicable as from 5 November, 2020. However, transitional periods have been articulated for various dispositions. Below we highlight some of the main points.
Starting with the sports industry, gone are the days when football teams proudly sported the logos of gambling operators in Spanish stadiums. Ever since the publication of this Royal Decree, their sponsorship of T-shirts, sports equipment and sport centers is prohibited.
Promotional activities may only be addressable to existing clients who (i) have had the gambling account open for at least 30 days and who (ii) have successfully verified their identity through documental means. It is specifically prohibited to address any promotional activity to excluded or self-excluded persons or existing clients with a high risk profile, as well as promotional activities addressed to obtain new clients (i.e. welcome bonuses are prohibited).
Broadcasting commercial communications in audiovisual media (including life broadcast of sport events such as football ) will only be possible between 1:00 and 5:00 am.
Information society services
Commercial communications within information society services (including banner advertising and offers) are generally prohibited, except when placed on websites/apps whose main activity is to offer products or information on gaming activities provided that these websites/apps have mechanisms to prevent access to minors and periodically disseminate messages on safe gaming. Ads will also be allowed when displayed as a result of a specific search using words or phrases directly connected with the gaming activities in an internet browser/search engine. Commercial communications through email will also be allowed if the prior consent of the person concerned has been obtained.
Video exchange networks
Audiovisual commercial communications in platform video exchange services (i.e. YouTube) are permitted only between 1:00 to 5:00 am and only if (i) measures are adopted in order to prevent such communications from being targeted at minors and (ii) mechanisms are foreseen for blocking or hiding pop-up ads by their users.
Audiovisual commercial communications in social networks are permitted only if (i) measures are adopted in order to prevent such communications from being targeted at minors and (ii) mechanisms are foreseen for blocking or hiding pop-up ads by their users. Additionally, other measures will apply in order to ensure that only persons who have expressed an active interest in the gambling activities may receive these communications.
Celebrities and Tipsters
It is prohibited to enter into agreements with celebrities (fictional and non-fictional) to promote or advertise gambling activities. This prohibition includes tipsters, who will (i) only make commercial communications using their official channels and (ii) will publish the results of their predictions.
Non-compliance with this RD shall be considered a serious infraction and operators may be fined between 100,000 and one million euros and suspended from their activity in Spain for a maximum period of six months.