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The Spanish gambling regulator has adopted the resolutions of the country’s SIGMA programme, an anti-match-fixing and integrity protection framework.

The DGOJ, the Directorate of Gambling of Spain, confirmed the adoption this week. The framework was first drafted in 2022 as a ‘cooperative network’ to tackle criminal activity and match-fixing in Spanish sports.

A new whistleblower portal for the general public, athletes and sports staff will be created under the directive, enabling the above-mentioned stakeholders to report incidents of match manipulation and fraud to the relevant authorities.

Further objectives see the programme launch a collaborative network and database for Spanish authorities to review and record incidents and suspicious activities related to sports manipulations.

As announced by DGOJ Director General, Mikel Arana, on Friday 28 June, the Directorate approved the union of gambling operators holding individual licenses for horse racing or sports betting in any of its modalities to SIGMA, to help form a central research service of betting markets.

The mandate will require all DGOJ-licensed operators to ensure that the SIGMA whistle-blower portal is made available to staff, as a duty of licence.

Arana confirmed that SIGMA duties and procedures would be added to Spanish gambling licences, in which operators “must report irregular or suspicious sports bets immediately” to authorities working on the SIGMA programme.

Centralised requirements have been added to DGOJ licences, as operators must “immediately respond to requests for any information deemed necessary in relation to the alerts entered into the service”.

The DGOJ becomes a guarantor of the SIGMA programme, alongside Spain’s Higher Sports Council, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), La Liga, the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET), the Association of Professional Footballers (AFE), the National Police, Civil Guard (federal police) and Ertzaintza (Basque autonomous police).

Arana concluded: “With this resolution, the Directorate General takes a further step in its commitment to the fight against corruption linked to the manipulation of sports competitions and the often-resulting fraud in betting on such events.”

June concluded with the DGOJ hosting the ‘Plenary Session of the Gaming Policy Council’ – a meeting of federal and autonomous stakeholders to discuss Spanish gambling’s regulatory affairs.

The meeting focused on designing and implementing new centralised controls and systems sought by the approved “Royal Decree on Responsible Gaming Environments”, including a centralised player registry, record-keeping duties for player accounts under 25 and a cross-operator deposit limit to be applied to DGOJ licences.

The meeting introduced Spanish stakeholders to Andrés Urbiola, a ‘dedicated minister’ assigned by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to oversee Spanish gambling federal reforms.

The appointment of a dedicated gambling reforms minister had been requested by Pablo Bustinduy, Spain’s Minister of Consumer Affairs and Social Rights, to move forward with changes.

Bustinduy, who leads the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, underscored the importance of federal gambling reforms which need to be tied in with Spain’s new ‘Action Plan on Combatting Addiction’, to be launched in 2025.

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