Spanish Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Online Gambling Ad Regulations

In a groundbreaking decision on Wednesday (10 March), the Supreme Court of Spain delivered a ruling that has significant implications for the advertising strategies of the gambling industry in the country. This verdict came as the court partially upheld an appeal lodged by Jdigital, Spain’s online gambling association. The association’s earlier attempt at contesting the regulations had been dismissed by the Constitutional Court in November 2023, but their persistence has finally paid off with this new development.

The contentious Royal Decree 958/2020, which had been in effect since November 2020, saw several of its articles annulled by the highest court. The Supreme Court concluded these stipulations did not possess the necessary legal underpinning, resulting in their overturn.

One of the most significant articles affected by the ruling is article 13, which pertained to the direct advertising targeted at acquiring new customers. Now, operators are once again permitted to promote their offerings to individuals who have held an account for under 30 days. They can also run advertisements in publicly accessible establishments designated for the sale of lottery games.

But perhaps the most prominent change comes in the reinstatement of celebrities in gambling advertisements. Spanish celebrities and personalities will now be able to grace gambling advertorials, reversing a major constraint previously levied upon the industry. In addition, the prohibition of gambling adverts on video sharing platforms, like YouTube, has been retracted, widening the field for digital marketing efforts. Furthermore, gambling operators have regained the capacity to advertise to social media users aged 18 and over.

Jdigital, which represents Spain’s online gaming industry, has welcomed the Supreme Court’s resolution with open arms, describing it as “very positive news.” The organization, in its communication with iGB, stressed that the nullifications demonstrate the excessive limitations and restrictions previously imposed on the industry, which were deemed disproportionate. They lamented the lack of safety measures and sufficient legal protection around the original legislation, which the appeal aimed to rectify.

However, even with this victory, Jdigital urges moderation, acknowledging that the ruling’s scope is limited and that restrictive measures still linger. For instance, the ban on advertising between the hours of 1 am and 5 am on TV and radio remains steadfast due to its coverage under the General Law of Audiovisual Communication.

Additionally, Article 12 concerning sports sponsorship has withstood the judicial challenge, meaning that operators are still prohibited from advertising or using branding that is visible to minors. The ban also extends to the sponsorship of sporting events, broadcasts, and activities linked to sports facilities.

The organization highlighted the ongoing adherence to the Advertising Code of Conduct as evidence that the sector’s commercial communications remain under constraint. This self-regulatory mechanism, which underwent revisions in 2019 to fortify consumer protection, caps welcome bonuses at €200 and prevents individuals under 25 years of age from being featured in gambling advertisements.

Through its statement, Jdigital expressed an eagerness to foster collaborative dialogue between the industry and regulators with the objective of bolstering responsible gambling initiatives. Advocating for a robust regulatory framework, Jdigital calls for its members to exercise prudence and to align their advertising efforts with an enhanced commitment to consumer protection.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s judgment, Jdigital remains optimistic. They hope that this ruling will prompt the government to address the sector’s regulatory concerns more attentively during the current legislature, and to advance public-private dialogue. The association concludes by expressing its readiness to contribute knowledge and expertise in the development of proportionate standards that uphold and advance the shared goal of responsible gaming.

Kerala Lottery Result