The Spanish gambling regulator Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) has reported a 12% increase in registrations for its self-exclusion scheme to 56,329 in 2020.
That equates to 6,042 more registrations than the previous year, with the country’s most populous region, Andalusia, accounting for 24.5%. Andalusia saw a rise of 7.1% new registrations in 2020 to 13,811.
Madrid and the surrounding area came in second highest with 17.0%, up by 13.1% to 9,591. The Balearic Islands registered the greatest growth in registrations over the course of 2020, with a 56.9% increase to a total of 1,183.
The figures follow a clamp down by Spain’s Ministry for Consumer Affairs, which earlier this month set out plans to improve player protection over the course of 2021.
The changes will include a gambling advertising ban at peak times and new fees due to the regulator from licensees.
The country’s self-exclusion scheme Registro General de Interdicciones de Acceso al Juego (RGIAJ) currently only applies to self-exclusion online. The only region which crosses over with the land-based equivalent, Comunidades Autónomas (CCAA), is Castilla-La Mancha.
Consequently, a player that has self-excluded via the Ministry of Consumer Affairs cannot access online gambling portals, which are under state control, but they can access land-based gambling establishments, which are autonomous.
Likewise, those that self-exclude from a local land-based establishment, will not be self-excluded in a physical location elsewhere in the country.
Spanish authorities are looking at ways to bring the self-exclusion regimes together and in September last year, the central and regional governments reached an agreement to link the exclusion registers.
Commenting at the time, online gaming association JDigital, was reported to have said the move represents “an important advance in player protection” and claimed that its members had long backed such a change, 80% of which are igaming operators.
The association pledged it was “making [itself] available to the government to share [its] skills and experience gained from operating in [the] industry to define and implement the mechanisms that can protect users in the most efficient way”.