Spain SC to Evaluate the Constitutionality of the Ads Ban

In 2020, Spain introduced gambling regulations that heavily restricted gambling ads in the country. Two years later, the Supreme Court will determine whether these restrictive measures are constitutional or not.

The Supreme Court Will Evaluate the Royal Decree

The Royal Decree on Commercial Communications of Gambling Activities came into power in November 2020. The decree’s main goal was to limit the exposure of children and at-risk people to gambling ads. Hence, the laws prohibited almost all forms of gambling advertisement, with the exception of state lotteries.

Under those rules, operators could advertise their products only between 1 am and 5 am. Furthermore, the decree prohibited gambling sponsorships in sports and banned operators from tempting players with bonus offers.

The decree received strong backing from Alberto Garzon, Spain’s minister of consumer affairs. However, it was frowned upon by operators and bettors alike. Two years later, there is a slight chance that the ban will go away.

The Supreme Court Will Look Into the Matter

Spain’s Supreme Court just announced that it will hear what stakeholders have to say and check whether the ban is unconstitutional. The court is now demanding evidence to back up claims that the ban is in breach of Spain’s constitution. Stakeholders will have 10 days to supply applicable evidence, after which the Supreme Court will carefully evaluate it.

The Supreme Court shared that it will conclude its evaluation in July. If it decides that the evidence is compelling, it will present the matter of the decree’s unconstitutionality to the Constitutional Court. Depending on how things go, the latter may decide to change the ad restrictions or repeal them.

Companies Demand a Return to the Status Quo

If the Supreme Court finds the Royal Decree on Commercial Communications of Gambling Activities to be unconstitutional, it may take years for new rules to be introduced by the Constitutional Court. Because of that, gambling companies are demanding for a return to the status quo until the courts make up their minds.  

Companies seem optimistic about the future. Santiago Asensi, Asensi Abogados managing partner, spoke with EGR about the Supreme Court’s announcement. According to him, the fact that the court is calling for evidence means that the ads ban was never quite legal, to begin with. Asensi hopes that there will be at least a temporary return to the status quo before the Constitutional Court announces its decision.

Gambling is very popular in Spain despite the ban on ads. A recent report showed that it is the top e-commerce activity in the country, despite the lack of advertisement.

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