Spain Fines Online Gaming Operators €71 Million in First Half of 2023
In a stern move to crack down on online gaming operators, Spain’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs (MCA) has handed out fines totaling over €71 million (US$76 million) in the first half of 2023. The fines were issued by the General Directorate of Gambling Regulation (DGOJ) and were a result of what the regulator described as “serious” or “very serious” infractions.
Of the approximately 30 online gaming operators that were sanctioned, 15 were found to be in violation of very serious issues, resulting in fines of up to €5 million (US$5.35 million). These resolutions also included the disqualification of the operators for a two-year period.
The very serious infractions were primarily related to foreign online gambling operators that were operating without a valid license in Spain. These operators included Altacore, Versus Odds, Favorit United, Ryker, Techoptions Group, and AK Global, who were all fined the maximum amount for operating without a license.
In addition to the foreign operators, gaming giants such as Codere, Bet365, and Marathonbet were also found to have violated gaming regulations. Codere was fined €125,000 (US$133,787) for allowing some players to increase their deposit limits before the mandatory three-month freeze, as established in the DGOJ’s latest gambling reforms. Bet365 received the smallest fine of €10,000 (US$10,703) for granting bonuses to players who didn’t meet responsible gambling requirements.
The 30 operators fined in the first half of 2023 represent a notable decrease compared to the previous year. However, collecting the fines from foreign operators may prove to be a challenge for the government, especially for those based in Curaçao, which historically granted gaming licenses without proper oversight.
Curaçao is now attempting to improve its regulatory processes, but this will only impact future operations and is unlikely to affect the fines that have already been issued. Overall, the fines represent a significant effort by Spain to clean up its iGaming market and ensure that all operators comply with the country’s gaming regulations.