Spain’s High Court Rejects Hearing, Allows Gambling Ad Ban to Proceed

On November 27, 2023, the Constitutional Court of Spain ruled on a legal battle surrounding the constitutionality of a law introduced by the former Minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón, to prevent gambling advertising. The court determined that there was no issue to address, upholding the law.

The Spanish Association of Digital Gaming (Jdigital) had challenged the regulation, arguing that it exceeded federal legislative oversight and was unconstitutional. The law, also known as the Garzón Law, was part of Law 13/2011 and was updated to prohibit all gambling advertising, sponsorships, and promotions without proper authorization.

Jdigital had appealed to the Supreme Court, claiming that the ban on gambling advertising should be addressed through legislation, not regulation. However, before the decision made it to the Constitutional Court, Spain’s lawmakers closed the loophole by enacting Law 23/2022, which provided specific details on regulatory controls to give the authorities the needed authority.

As a result, the Constitutional Court unanimously ruled that Jdigital’s appeal no longer had any validity, and it was as if the appeal never existed.

While the former Minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón, left office and was replaced by Pablo Bustinduy, Jdigital and the Association of Media and Information have little recourse at this point. They will have to work within the new framework, which will come into force early next year.

The new regulations in Spain’s gaming ecosystem include the promulgation of the Royal Decree on Responsible Gaming Environments, which introduces limits on how much players can lose gambling online each week and a new player monitoring system.

Overall, Spain now has one of the toughest surveillance systems of gambling operations in Europe, a legacy that the former Minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón, will be remembered for.