The Ministry of Consumer Affairs in Spain has warned about the need for better monitoring practices in the online gambling sector. The warning comes in the context of the rise in year-on-year fines given to online gambling operators with a license to operate, according to data from the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ). DGOJ, which consists of the Sub-Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling and the Sub-Directorate General for the Inspection of Gambling, has revealed a number of serious sanctions given to 53 operators in the first half of the year.
€84.3 Million ($86.6 Million) in Fines for Operators
The 53 targeted operators gathered a total of €84.3 million ($86.6 million) in fines. Compared to last year’s €58 million in fines ($59 million) gathered by a total of 21 sanctioned operators, this year’s number signals a greater problem. Spain’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs Ministry which incorporates DGOJ is responsible for issuing government policies meant to protect and defend consumers’ rights while regulating, issuing authorizations, surveilling, managing, and sanctioning gambling activities at a nationwide level. The Ministry reported a number of 21 operators with “disqualification orders“ issued for them during the same period for “very serious infractions.” These operators entered a two-year period during which they will have their licenses revoked. They were also asked to shut down their websites and make them unavailable for Spanish players.
The List of Infringements for 2022
DGOJ revealed a list of all the infringements that took place in 2022, naming Purple Rain NV, Famagousta BV, CrackerJack Entertainment, and Abundantia BV as the operators that were sanctioned with license revocation. An additional 17 penalties were given to licensed operators found guilty of “serious infractions” in relation to the freshly upgraded Gambling Regulation Law published in 2021. The 17 operators were sanctioned with fines ranging between €4 million ($4.1 million) and €5 million (5.1 million) each. The rest of the issued fines totaled €1 million ($1.1 million) each. The list of operators includes names like Codere, 888Sport, and Betfair Spain.
According to the new law currently in effect, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs is the main government department with a focus on gambling which can also enforce tougher fines on operators who fail to obey the laws. Minister of Consumer Affairs Alberto Garzon issued a warning to operators, asking them to prepare for important reforms underway as part of the new laws approved in October by the Senate. Operators will be asked 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 regarding their access to websites and gambling apps, registration procedures, and reporting and monitoring of their players’ habits.
The Minister was firm to express the need for immediate implementation of the new federal gambling reforms that would grant operators a grace period needed to implement all the necessary changes. In October, Garzon targeted a budget of close to $72 million for tackling problem gambling in Spain in 2023. The country’s operators recorded a relatively stable performance during the second quarter of the year.