The Spanish Ministry of Consumer Affairs has issued a warning about the need for improved monitoring techniques in the online gambling industry. The warning comes in the backdrop of an increase in year-on-year fines levied on licenced online gaming businesses, according to data from the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ). The DGOJ, which consists of the Sub-Directorate General for Gambling Regulation and the Sub-Directorate General for Gambling Inspection, has revealed a number of substantial sanctions imposed on 53 operators in the first half of the year.
Fines of €84.3 million ($86.6 million) levied against operators
Fines for the 53 targeted operators were €84.3 million ($86.6 million). Compared to last year's total of €58 million in fines collected by 21 sanctioned firms, this year's figure indicates a higher problem. Spain's Ministry of Consumer Affairs, which encompasses DGOJ, is responsible for developing policies designed to protect and defend consumer rights, as well as regulating, issuing authorizations, monitoring, administering, and punishing gambling activities on a national scale. The Ministry reported that 21 operators were issued "disqualification orders" for "very serious breaches" within the same time frame. These operators have entered a two-year period in which their licences will be withdrawn. They were also instructed to disable access to their websites for Spanish players.
The List of Infractions for 2022
The DGOJ disclosed a list of all the infractions that occurred in 2022, listing Purple Rain NV, Famagousta BV, CrackerJack Entertainment, and Abundantia BV as the license-revoking operators. In accordance with the newly revised Gambling Regulation Law that was released in 2021, licenced operators who committed "severe offences" received an additional 17 fines. Each of the seventeen operators was fined between €4 million ($4.1 million) and €5 million (€5.1 million). Each of the remaining issued fines equaled €1 million ($1.1 million). The list of operators includes Codere, 888Sport, and Betfair Spain, among others.
According to the new law that is presently in place, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs is the primary government agency with a focus on gambling, and it has the authority to impose harsher penalties on operators who do not comply with the law. Minister of Consumer Affairs Alberto Garzon issued a warning to businesses, urging them to prepare for upcoming significant revisions as part of the new laws passed by the Senate in October. Operators will be required to maintain their in-play safeguards and betting limits on all online slot and casino games, while keeping a close eye on their new customer care responsibilities pertaining to their access to websites and gambling apps, registration procedures, and reporting and monitoring of their players' behaviour.
The Minister was adamant on the necessity for prompt implementation of the new federal gaming reforms, which would provide operators with a grace period to complete all essential improvements. In October, Garzon proposed a 2023 budget of close to $72 million to combat problem gambling in Spain. During the second quarter of the year, the performance of the country's businesses was rather consistent.
By fLEXI tEAM