Spain’s newest government has announced plans to cut gambling advertisements by 80 per cent as part of its Royal Decree of Commercial Communications for Gaming Activities, yet partnerships between sports clubs and bookmakers will not be banned.
The left-wing coalition, formed of PSOE and Unidas Podemos (UP), was expected to tighten restrictions on sports betting after claiming that the gambling industry is over-exposed to young people. Nevertheless, whilst restrictions are being put in place it shouldn’t severely impact Spain’s sporting connections with the betting industry.
The government’s decision to not ban bookmaker sponsorship in sports should soften the blow for many of Spain’s biggest clubs, especially in La Liga which currently has 19 club’s that have such deals in place.
Spanish minister for consumer affairs Alberto Garzón stated: “The regulation has to be similar to [that of] tobacco. We are not regulating the textile sector here, but a sector that has an impact on public health.
“If there are people [who want] the total ban on advertising, I am here to discuss it and explain that international experiences, such as that of Italy, have proved to be a failure; that the economic rationality of the measure is also wrong and that therefore the total ban on advertising is not only inappropriate, but also imprudent.
“There are people who will bet, yes, and yes because they may have a problem.”
Among the proposed plans include an advertising ban for gambling companies. TV and Radio adverts will be banned until 8pm, while online betting advertising will only be permitted between 1am and 5am. This could severely impact La Liga’s revenue indirectly considering around 50 per cent of all La Liga matches take place within those time frames.
Betting companies will also be unable to sponsor stadiums and team names in any sporting capacity. Plus, celebrities or anybody the government deems as ‘well-known personalities’ cannot associate themselves with betting companies in Spain.
Finally, while shirt sponsorships will be allowed, betting firm logos will be removed from all child replica shirts sold by any Spanish club.
Consumer rights body Facua are reportedly dissatisfied with the government’s recent news, with the body hoping Spain would issue a complete gambling ban. The Spanish body has previously described betting commercials being broadcast during football matches as ‘serious irresponsibility’.
Garzón added that while ideally a full ban on betting would be perfect, having such a practice would be counter-active and could result in customers going into illegal avenues.
He concluded: “If we generate incentives for companies to go to the illegal world because they no longer have advantages in the legal world, we are likely to be pushing people who need protection to an illegal world where there is no protection.”