The 17 autonomous communities of the Spanish regional governments have agreed to join forces in developing what they described as a central self-exclusion registry to cover both retail and online gambling services in the country.
The development and establishment of the gambling self-exclusion scheme were approved by the majority of the parties involved in the vote. The proposal was turned down by the Catalonian government, while the province of Valencia and the Basque Country abstained from taking a decision on the matter. The agreement was reached at a meeting of the Gambling Policy Council, which was led by Alberto Garzón, the Spanish Minister of Consumer Affairs.
The proposal, which was unveiled by the Consumer Affairs Ministry of Spain, has got the support of the North African autonomous cities of Melilla and Ceuta, which are planning to adopt the self-exclusion program as part of the licensing requirements online gambling companies have to meet in order to receive an operating license.
The Gambling Policy Council agreed to cooperate in the process but it has yet to unveil the key requirements and standards that each region will have to adopt so that the self-exclusion scheme starts working efficiently across the country. Autonomous representatives will be given four months to finalize their work on the technical framework of the self-exclusion requirements that should be unveiled by the central government of Spain.
Development and Adoption of Gambling Self-Exclusion Scheme to Take Up to 16 Months, Lawmakers Say
The creation and establishment of a central self-exclusion scheme for people who want to better control their gambling habits had been described as a major stage-2 objective of the reforms that Alberto Garzón has initiated for the Spanish gambling laws. Once completed, the framework is to be sent to the Gaming Policy Council for approval. After that, each of the autonomous regions will receive a year to make the technical changes and regulatory updates before the integration of the retail and online self-exclusion scheme is successfully integrated.
For the time being, self-exclusion requests are registered by local communities individually, except for the community of Castilla la Mancha. However, since 2015 Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ), the Spanish gambling regulatory body, has kept the Registro General de Interdicciones de Acceso at Juego (RGIAJ), a special self-exclusion database for online gambling users.
The online gaming association JDigital, which currently represents 80% of the licensed gaming companies that operate in the country, welcomed the latest decision regarding the self-exclusion scheme that is set to be incorporated in Spain, saying it came as an important step forward in terms of customer protection. JDigital also pledged to provide its support for the government while the implementation of the program is still carried out and confirmed that its members are already connected with the aforementioned RGIAJ.
The last few months have seen stricter crackdown measures being imposed on the gambling industry by the Spanish government, with the authorities having remained focused on ensuring better customer protection measures. Some of the changes that have been recently brought on the sector include limitations on gambling advertising, a ban on the use of credit cards for gambling-related transactions and a ban on gambling sponsorships.