At the end of August 2021, the new provisions of the Royal Decree 958/2020, of 3 November, on commercial communications for gambling activities, relating to sponsorship, time limitations and social media limitations entered into force.
The most relevant limitations are on sport sponsorship, broadcasting hours in general, welcome promotions, presence celebrities or persons of public notoriety and the inclusions of messages for responsible gambling, which will be mandatory.
In general, the broadcasting of gambling advertising on radio and television is prohibited outside the time slot from 1.00 a.m. to 5.00 a.m. although for certain types of gambling (lotteries, bingo, mutual betting, or competitions) there is certain flexibility.
One of the most significant aspects relates to sports sponsorship, establishing that the brand name of gambling operators may not be displayed on sports equipment and that it may not be part of the names of stadiums, teams, or competitions. Also advertising billboards in stadiums shall comply with the same time restrictions and requirements as other audiovisual communications.
Furthermore, the image of celebrities or persons of public notoriety may no longer be used in the advertising of the game.
So-called welcome bonuses or promotions to attract new customers are also prohibited. Operators may not address offers to people with gambling-related pathologies and may only advertise them to verified customers.
Advertising on websites, social media, email, or post will only be allowed with the consent of the recipient.
The commercial communications in social networks are only allowed on those social networks that have (i) instruments to avoid addressing minors; (ii) locking mechanisms or hide pop-up ads; and (iii) tools to segment the audience to which commercial communications are directed.
As for minors, the regulation includes parental control mechanisms, so that "commercial communications from gambling operators in information society services will include an identifier that enables their categorization as gambling", the decree states. Under no circumstances may this advertising be aimed at minors.
Accordingly, a gambling operator may only use these channels when they have technological tools to prevent advertisements from being targeted at minors, as well as tools to segment the audience. In addition, all these websites and social media profiles must regularly display safe gambling messages warning about the dangers of gambling. This translates into an obligation to include messages appealing visually or verbally to responsible gambling, such as "If you are gambling, then gamble responsibly" or similar; as well as references to the prohibition of participation of minors, through messages such as "no minors", "+18" or similar.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.