Spanish bookies will be hit by advertising restrictions

2 April 2021

The combination of the corona crisis and the stricter regulations and restrictions on advertising by the Spanish government in 2020 seems to be a significant downfall to the Spanish online gambling industry. Sports matches came to a standstill due to the measures during the onset of coronavirus (Covid-19). An essential way of customer acquisition through advertising was curtailed. Will the Spanish gambling industry recover from this downward trend?

Spain has practically a ban on gambling advertising

Last year (2020), the Spanish government announced that it would no longer be possible to advertise (online) games of chance in many areas. Restrictions have been introduced to such an extent that online advertising gambling in Spain has become complex, and people are much more challenging to reach. For example, since then, only gambling advertisements on TV and radio may occur between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., except advertisements around live sports events. The earlier plan to advertise between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. was later removed from the draft proposal presented to the European Commission in July 2020.

Sports betting no other treatment

At first, sports betting seemed to fall outside the measures. It is now clear that bookmakers who provide betting on sports must also comply with all the rules. Initially, sportsbooks were saved, as the most significant risk is hidden in online casinos.

Considerable drop inactive players

Between April and June, the number of active players decreased by 29.4% every quarter and by 25.3% on an annual basis. Even more worryingly, the number of players registering during the quarter had more than halved since the first quarter and was 41.5% lower than in the second quarter of the previous year. The number of players registering in May was the lowest monthly total in more than four years.

Are there any changes on the way?

Unfortunately, a combination of a ban on gambling advertising by regulated casinos and bookmakers also means the relocation of a large group of online players. Many people will simply try their luck with an unregulated online gambling provider, which removes a lot of supervision and protection towards the players.

However, arguments for this effect have been repeatedly brought up by operators across Europe and have mostly fallen on deaf ears. It remains to be seen whether the steps in policy by other European countries, in which new legislation has recently been introduced in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden, will make a difference for Spain. Time will tell, and in the meantime, we keep you informed about the situation in Spain!