The Gavel Comes Down, Spanish Media Hit by Ban on Gaming Ads

Spanish media barons have suffered a major blow after failing to delay a government ban on gambling advertising.

The Association of Information Media (Asociación Medios de Información), AMI, the industry body of Spain’s traditional TV, radio and print media, has had its appeal rejected by the country’s Supreme Court.

The AMI were seeking to delay the Royal Decree on Advertising–passed last November and due to come into force this May—on the grounds that it was unconstitutional and unduly favoured online media.

But the Supreme Court has ruled that the new law, initially designed to protect “vulnerable” gamblers during the Covid-19 lockdowns, should stand because it is clearly in the public interest.

Traditional Spanish media will no longer be able to accept advertising promoting any form of gambling.

The new law allows gambling advertising to continue on betting websites or online platforms whose principal activity is sports coverage — provided there are stringent controls to prevent underage gaming and strong safer gambling messages.

AMI argued the law should be delayed as a “precautionary measure”.

And they claimed that they were set to lose at least €6m (£5.14m/US$7.14m) in short-term ad revenue because they would not be able to feature large parts of the upcoming (delayed) Tokyo Olympics and the UEFA Euro Football Championship.

Meantime, Spain’s Socialist-led coalition government has reaffirmed its commitment to safer gambling through “new measures for action, intervention, control, prevention, awareness raising and player safeguarding”.

“Consumer protection is our key focus for 2021,” said an official spokesperson. “The federal order will be implemented across all of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities.”

Additionally, all Spanish sporting teams now have until the end of their respective seasons to end all endorsements, advertising and promotions with gambling-related entities.

National figures and famous sporting personalities will hitherto also be banned from promoting gambling and gaming products.

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