Stricter Regulation in Spain and France

Both Spain and France are planning stricter regulation of their gambling industries. It could see more protection of customers and restrictions on bonuses offered by bookmakers.

In Spain, the Senate has voted to approve reform of the Gambling Law passed in 2011. The changes made would “improve controls on sports manipulations, betting fraud and expand protections for problem gamblers.”

The main proposal will see DGOJ (the Spanish gambling regulator) operate a “Global Betting Market Research Service (SIGMA). This will be a database that is centrally controlled and will list those who are involved in “illicit gambling activities or betting/gambling related frauds.” Information gathered will be made available to entities that are “interested in eradicating fraud and manipulation of sports.”

Also endorsed by the Senate vote were a number of new customer safeguards. It will also include advertising rules that had been proposed by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. Operators will need to ensure that any advertisements are “socially responsible” This comes on top of rules that only allow gambling advertisements to be broadcast on TV and radio networks between 1am and 5am.

Online sites need to provide information on safer gambling. This includes details of gambling support helplines and customer care and control tools. There will also be a requirement for customers to set limits on the time they play and the amount they spend when playing casino games and slots. These won’t be able to be changed within a 24 hour period.

In France, action is being taken against the bonuses that are offered by gambling companies. The French regulatory body ANJ has called for a €100 limit to be set on welcome bonuses.

The ANJ has sent out a number of binding guidelines and non-binding “recommendations” to gambling companies These cover the issue of bonuses which are offered to existing customers and as welcome offers to those who decide to join a site.

The recommendations call for operators to ensure that there are not commercial offers made to those who have been identified as having gambling problems. There should also be “particular vigilance” exercised towards those who have “recently benefited from a self-exclusion measure or a gambling ban.”

They also believe that the number of bonuses offered and the size of them should be “reasonable.” The ANJ also has concerns over descriptions of bonus offers that can be misleading and not sufficiently transparent.

Bonus offers should include details about any time-limits that exist and if a bet is required to be placed to receive the bonus. Details about withdrawable cash or “credits” should also be fully explained.