AMI Challenges Royal Decree Amendments as Discriminatory

The Spanish media trade union Asociación de Medios de Información (AMI) filed an appeal to the Supreme Tribunal of Spain to contest the amendments to the Royal Decree of Advertising made by the Consumer Affairs Ministry of the country.

Digital Media Incumbents Favored

AMI lodged the appeal to Spain’s Supreme Tribunal to ask the highest legal body in the country to review Consumer Affairs orders classified by the union as discriminatory, due to certain texts in the Royal Decree which penalize traditional media.

The Consumer Affairs Ministry orders force traditional Spanish media to comply with the gambling advertising blanket ban starting from May 1, while at the same time and unlike traditional media, digital media incumbents would be given extra time, until August 1, to align with the new federal orders related to advertising.

Spain’s Council of Ministers was convinced to be able to pass the Royal Decree on Advertising into a federal law before the end of its October proceedings, but eventually this happened in November and the new advertising code of the country became effective, along with the blanket ban on gambling advertising.

Besides the restriction of gambling advertising for the hours between 1am and 5am, the new law eliminated opportunities for sponsorship deals with gambling-related partners, albeit letting existing deals run until the end of the current football season.

While restricting operators in terms of welcome and additional bonuses, as well as former or current athletes from participating in gambling advertisements, the law exempts the state lotteries, Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles (ONCE) and Sociedad Estatal Loterías y Apuestas del Estado (SELAE), from the restrictions.

Enforcement Schedule Hindering

Having received multiple complaints from Spanish media and football clubs, the Consumer Affairs Ministry introduced amendments into the law to allow certain businesses grace periods to align their operations with regards to the ban on advertising with gambling content.

AMI’s appeal, supported by all 85 of its members, claims that traditional media such as radio, TV and press have been economically hindered by the enforcement schedule adopted by the Consumer Affairs Ministry.

As a result of the restriction on a “critical window of advertising earnings”, traditional media incumbents would be deprived of significant revenue-generating opportunities represented by the UEFA Euro 2021 Championship and the Tokyo Olympics.

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