On Saturday May 1, 2021, certain sections of Royal Decree 958/2020, of November 3, on commercial communications for gambling activities (“RD 958/2020”) entered into force. It had been postponed to ensure a better transition to the new regulatory environment for this type of advertising. The specific restrictions that have finally taken effect can be summarized as follows:
- Section 13 of RD 958/2020, on the restrictions applicable to promotional activities. The main changes brought about by the entry into force of this section are as follows:
- Offering promotions to attract customers is prohibited;
- There are restrictions on the users to whom promotions can be offered. As of May 1, promotions may only be offered to players who, cumulatively: (i) have a gaming account that has been open for at least 30 days; and (ii) have been verified with documentation;
- There are restrictions on all commercial communications relating to promotions, which may only: (i) be sent to existing customers; or (ii) appear on a separate section of the website of the operator offering the gaming activities; or (iii) be disseminated in publicly accessible establishments of designated lottery marketing operators; and
- Other obligations relating both to how the promotional activities are carried out and to the information provided to users on how these activities function.
- Section 23(1)(b) and (c) of RD 958/2020, on the restrictions applicable to commercial communications on websites and applications related to the gambling sector and search engines. The entry into force of these paragraphs mainly involves the following:
- Websites or applications related to the gambling industry that are going to broadcast commercial communications about online gambling operators must: (i) have mechanisms in place to prevent access to minors, and (ii) disseminate safe gambling messages on a regular basis; and
- Commercial communications that are the result obtained through search engines must be limited to those searches that use words or phrases that are considered to be directly related to online gambling activities (as defined in the Spanish Gambling Act (Ley de Regulación del Juego)).
- Section 24 of RD 958/2020, on commercial communications by email or equivalent means. The entry into force of this section means that it will be prohibited to send these types of commercial communications without having obtained the prior consent of the person or user in question.
- Sections 25(3) and 26(3) of RD 958/2020, on the restrictions applicable to channels/accounts on video-sharing platforms and to accounts and channels on social networks, respectively, which, as of May 1, are limited to those accounts/channels on video-sharing platforms or social networks that:
- Use all mechanisms available on the relevant video-sharing platform or social network to prevent underage access to the account/channel; and
- Disseminate safe gambling messages on a regular basis.
- Section 27 of RD 958/2020, on the use of tipsters: as of May 1, gaming operators and tipsters are required to have signed an advertising agreement in which the tipster agrees to publish, in the medium in which they publish their bets, all the results of all types of bets obtained on the platform of the operator with which they have signed the advertising agreement and on which their tips are based.
With the full entry into force of the above provisions, all that remains is to finalize the transitional regime established for sponsorship agreements and certain advertising agreements entered into prior to the approval of RD 958/2021, which may still continue to be in force until the end of August of this year.
Authors: Mònica Ferrer and Albert Agustinoy