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The Directorate-General for Gambling (DGOJ) has just published the 2019 activity report. This annual report describes the characteristics that have marked the state games of chance and betting market during the year in question.

In economic terms, the market has grown 6.95% overall in 2019 with regard to 2018. Betting remains the most prominent modality, representing 50.62% of the sector. In comparison with the previous year, live roulette has increased 25% and slot machines have risen 20%.

Without doubt, however, the gambling sector in 2019 has been marked by the granting of general and single licenses to now traditional operators in the online gambling industry, as well as to new players embarking on their journey in the Spanish market. Without these licenses, it would not be possible to operate and organize online gambling, except for occasional gambling.

With regard to the regulatory initiatives in the sector, a series of measures adopted in 2019 should be highlighted. According to the Directorate-General for Gambling, their aim is to coordinate the market interests, protection of public health and minors, and prevention of gambling addiction and fraud as best possible. In particular:

  1. The National Commission to Combat Fixing in Sports Competitions and Betting-related Fraud (CONFAD) has been created. This body has been created as a point of contact between public authorities, sporting organizations and representatives from the gambling sector to prevent and eliminate fraud in betting.
  • Offering betting on events exclusively or predominantly involving minors has been prohibited.
  • The agreement for exchanging information between the State Tax Administration and the Directorate-General for Gambling has been concluded.
  • Guidelines have been published for drafting the clauses of the gambling agreement operators offer to their users.
  • A preliminary version of points on promoting responsible gambling behaviors for online gambling has been drafted.

Furthermore, the Directorate-General for Gambling continues to increase its supervisory activity monitoring the sector’s activity using technological means and the control of participation of players who, given their circumstances, are not to be allowed access to gambling. Likewise, prosecution of illegal gambling has increased significantly and has led to the closure of up to 1,318 websites compared with 117 in 2018.

Moreover, the Gambling Market Global Investigation Service (SIGMA) continues to play an essential role. Its mission is to prevent and control fraud in sport. SIGMA collaborates with the State Security Forces and other administrations, and monitors the gambling markets, managing the exchange of alerts on irregular or suspicious sports betting between gambling operators or sporting organizations. Since its creation in 2017, it has taken action in 1,100 cases, with 2019 its busiest year with a total of 399.

In addition to these measures, there are a series of institutional and risk prevention activities related to the online gambling sector that contribute to the pooling of ideas and suggestions for the optimal functioning of the online gambling market.

In conclusion, once again, the Directorate-General for Gambling has complied with its transparency obligation by publishing the annual report on the actions taken within its functions, highlighting its supervisory, control and guidance work in relation to the actions in this sector.

Authors: Albert Agustinoy and Alicia Costas

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