Spain Looks to Introduce New Online Gaming Deposit Limits

Posted on: September 5, 2023, 06:41h. 

Last updated on: November 23, 2023, 07:54h.

The online gaming market in Spain will face new restrictions if proposed regulations survive scrutiny and industry feedback. Although the Spanish gambling sector has a relatively low “problem gambling” risk, this hasn’t stopped the Ministry of Consumer Affairs (MCA) from looking at how to handicap operators and players.

The Spanish flag flying on a makeshift mast
The Spanish flag flying on a makeshift mast. More restrictions are coming to the online gaming space in the country. (Image: Pixabay)

The MCA, through the General Directorate of Gambling Regulation (DGOJ, for its Spanish acronym), wants to introduce a new limit for deposits. If its measure advances, the limit would apply across the entire iGaming spectrum and not be set on a per-operator level.

For the purpose of opening dialogue on the topic so that all interested persons can make their contributions, the DGOJ published the draft measure last Friday. It would modify the existing language of the country’s Regulation of Gambling laws to introduce a system of “joint deposit limits per player.”

More Consumer Spending Controls

The main objective of the project is the introduction of a deposit limit system, which is complementary and independent of the currently existing model. It would be applicable to all online gamblers and platforms in such a way that the players can’t exceed the established deposit limit in a certain period of time.

The regulator’s draft measure, although referencing existing limits, suggests what the joint limits may be, adding that it “will develop” a system. Specifically, it mentions a daily limit of €600 (US$644) and a weekly limit of €1,500 (US$1,611).

However, it fails to distinguish between online casino and online sports betting limits, although it’s difficult to believe the regulator feels they need to be consolidated into one limit.

These are likely to be two of the most common concerns operators and players raise. The DGOJ only indicates that the approval of the draft would give the gaming regulator complete autonomy to establish the limits.

Players will be able to set a self-imposed limit that is below the established threshold. However, if they do, they will have to wait three months before they’ll able to increase it.

The regulator, most likely at the whim of MCA head Alberto Garzón, thinks this is a smart move. With the measure, it projects “an improvement in the protection of players” and is “in line with the measures regarding safe gambling adopted in recent years.”

More Changes Coming

New player limits are just one aspect of the draft measure, although the MCA is addressing other issues, as well. One of the more notable changes highlights the definition of a legal gaming operator.

For this, a company that is currently established in a European country already has its foot in the door to obtain an online gaming license in Spain. If a non-European company wants a license, it’s going to have to set up shop in the country.

In addition, in the years following the initial license expiration, the amount for a general license for an operator, regardless of its modality, will be €1.2 million (US$1.28 million). A special license, one for a specific gaming activity, is €300,000 (US$322,290).

As Garzón is reportedly leaving office soon, there’s a small chance the draft measure will face changes before crossing the finish line. The deadline for interested parties to give their feedback is October 16.