The Spanish government has warned soccer clubs in the country that they would need to cut all ties with gambling entities by September next year.
The Spanish government is making good on a promise to outlaw all sponsorships and advertisements between soccer teams and betting companies by the end of the 2020/2021 season, as outlined in the Royal Decree, a sweeping reform of the gambling industry. All gambling-related advertisements went up 10.6% in 2019, the Spanish Association of Advertisers (AEA) reported earlier in October.
Meanwhile, professional La Liga soccer teams and other gambling-affiliated clubs received a letter by Spanish Minister for Consumer Affairs Alberto Garzón who has promised to end all sponsorships by the end of September next year.
Despite his adamant stance on the matter, Garzón is reasonable factoring the necessity to leave a grace period for all professional soccer clubs to wrap up their affairs.
In the letter, Garzón reminded all parties currently in a partnership with a gambling entity that such agreements would be invalidated and outlawed as soon as the new blanket ban comes into effect.
Garzón addressed several entities which have minted new partnerships, cautioning them that the Ministry was aware and reminding them of the repercussions of such actions once the new ban is in force, and asked of teams to adapt their relationships accordingly. Clubs will have until August 30, 2021 to find new sponsorships, the letter said.
As previously expected, Garzón said that the Royal Decree is now subject to a final approval by the Spain’s Council of State, following green light from the European Commission, which oversees any changes to national regulatory frameworks.
Protecting Society from Gambling Harms
Garzón argued that the necessity for such a sweeping change was mandated by a growing number of betting and gambling partnerships signed with individual athletes or clubs, a practice that the government doesn’t want to endorse or normalize as it invites serious health and social risks.
One issue that Garzón mentioned was the higher incidence of gambling among younger audiences, something that other jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom, have tried to avoid, particularly with the roll out of a whistle-to-whistle ban.
Italy and Spain, however, are taking matters one step further by introducing a complete ban on gambling advertisement. The Ministry has been thorough sending a warning letter to even teams that don’t currently have ties with gambling companies.
According to reports, some teams have tried to challenge the Royal Decree but unsuccessfully. In the meantime, Betway has sealed a partnership with RC Celta de Vigo in spite of the pending ban.
While concerns about a social impact have been widespread in Spain, a survey showed that the number of problem gamblers in the country is only 0.3%.