Do a rash of new regulations banning gambling ads in Spain favor state-run gaming enterprises over private ones? That’s the gist of a new complaint from the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), an EU-focused trade group that advocates on behalf of EU-facing online operators.

According to recent report from GamblingNews.com, the EGBA is calling out the Spanish government for crafting anti-gambling advertising rules that conveniently favor public operators. As evidence, they point to the conspicuous fact that the state-run lottery is exempt from the new rules – which are aimed at curbing problem gambling. Their, very reasonable, argument suggests that problem gamblers might also see ads for state-run gambling operations and not just those advertising private enterprises.

The new rules severely limit when gambling ads can appear on Spanish media and relegates them to a small window of time between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. They also restrict the use of gambling logos on sports kits.

But banning ads won’t be that effective when the Spanish lottery accounts for a full third of all the gambling ads in the country. And that’s what’s really chapping the EGBA.

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General, EGBA called for a sweeping rollback saying, “We urge the Spanish government to reconsider its advertising restrictions because there is a lack of data to support the measures and the granting of advertising privileges to state-run companies over private ones could potentially be in conflict with EU state aid rules.”

Under the proposed new measures, gambling operators will be able to advertise only at night between 1am and 5am, on top of the blanket ban on sponsorship from the sector related to sports shirts, jerseys and kits, as well as inside the stadiums.

The exemption granted to state-run lottery operators from the advertising restrictions is a move EGBA considers as discriminatory towards private companies and in conflict with EU rules regarding state aid, EGBA explained in the statement.

EGBA Secretary General Maarten Haijer panned the new measures saying, “We urge the Spanish government to reconsider its advertising restrictions because there is a lack of data to support the measures and the granting of advertising privileges to state-run companies over private ones could potentially be in conflict with EU state aid rules.”

“The restrictions clearly discriminate against private companies and favour the economic interests of the state-run lotteries, who are by far the country’s leading advertisers in the gambling sector,” he added.


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