Jdigital to argue for a constitutional probe of Spain’s blanket ban on gambling advertising  

Spanish online gambling trade association Jdigital has reported positive developments on its joint appeal against the Royal Decree on Advertising which imposed a federal ban on gambling advertising across Spain’s 17 autonomous communities. 

Last week, Spain’s Supreme Court informed stakeholders that Jdigital’s appeal, sanctioned with Spanish media counterpart AMI, could be put forward for a Constitutional Review.

Back in January 2021, Jdigital and AMI made their appeal against the Royal Decree, in which they argued that blanket ban restrictions had been authorised in a ‘disproportionate manner’ by Spain’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

Of significance, the trade bodies outlined that the Decree’s blanket ban restrictions required constitutional approval to be imposed across autonomous provinces, clearance that the Ministry of Consumer Affairs had not obtained.

As such, Jdigital and AMI argued that a number of Decree restrictions had infringed upon “Article 53 of the Spanish Constitution regarding the guarantees of fundamental rights and freedoms”.

Jdigital notified SBCNews that the Supreme Court “has summoned parties to make allegations on the possible filing of a question of unconstitutionality before the Constitutional Court”.

Beyond constitutional boundaries,  Jdigital and AMI had appealed against the Decree, outlining that it was an ‘ineffective solution’ imposed federally on autonomous communities.

The trade bodies rallied against the Ministry of Consumer Affairs’ judgement that the Decree was needed as a social safeguard to protect vulnerable consumers and younger audiences.

Applied federally since November 2021, the Decree has forced Spanish media incumbents to obey a one-to-five am window for the broadcasting of gambling adverts.

Further headline measures saw the Ministry of Consumer Affairs impose a blanket ban on gambling sponsorships across all sports, except for those promoting state-owned lottery partnerships.

Prior to the Decree being adopted, Jdigital’s trade body members representing 80% of Spain’s online gambling market had agreed to comply with a new code of responsibilities, significantly reducing advertising exposure across all mediums.

Observing developments, Jdigital told SBC: “We positively value the decision of the Supreme Court that reinforces the position that the association has been holding since the approval of the Royal Decree on Gambling Advertising: such regulation could be an overreach of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs

“At this point, and while still pending the final decision of the Supreme Court -and, if applicable, the Constitutional Court-, Jdigital reaffirms the need to maintain an open and transparent dialogue between the gaming ecosystem in Spain and the regulator in order to promote fair and proportionate regulations.

“From Jdigital we hope that, similarly to what the Supreme Court has outlined, the freedom of enterprise recognized by Article 38 of the Constitution will return to the centre of open debates and this will result in effective rules to protect consumers and users and be fully compatible with a responsible and safe gaming market.”

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