Earlier this week, the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia drafted a bill that could see the reformation of local gambling laws. The bill is an attempt to bring remote gambling under control by restricting the operation and advertising of unlicensed online gambling sites in Spain.
November’s elections, however, may put a damper on plans, pushing the bill to the sidelines as the government deals with other pressing issues.
Spanish gambling laws work both on a national level through the central Madrid government, but also on a more local level. In Catalonia, local gambling laws do not yet address the issue of online gambling. This reform would not only recognize internet gambling as being subject to local gambling laws, but would also introduce measures to reduce the presence of foreign internet gambling sites.
A proposed fine of €600,000 is included in the draft bill – the fine would be levied on unlicensed gambling sites that service Catalan players. New gambling advertisement regulations would be introduced, and a new gambling commission would be established to help mold the region’s gambling industry.
The problem facing the bill is that it must first be submitted to the European Court of Justice for approval before it becomes law – a process that takes at least three months, putting pressure on the current government to push the bill into action before November’s elections.
It is uncertain how long Spain will continue with the current legal model which allows gambling laws to be drafted on a regional scale. Already in 2007 the Spanish Congress in Madrid obliged the national government to formulate national gambling regulations for the regulation of internet gambling in Spain, but as of yet, no such action has been taken.