Calls for Spain to follow UK credit card gambling ban

FACUA-Consumidoresen Acción, an independent Spanish consumer rights agency, has called on the country’s government to introduce a ban on wagering via credit card. 

The agency voiced its support for new industry restrictions that were proposed at the beginning of the month. But now, it wants additional measures to be introduced. 

Why does FACUA want a credit card ban introduced?

According to FACUA, such a ban in Spain would stop players from falling into debt by gambling money that they don’t have. 

Referring to gambling as a “scourge”, the organisation argued that this ban would be useful in reducing the risks of harm caused to “vulnerable groups such as youth and adolescents”. 

The agency’s calls follow this week’s news that similar restrictions will be enforced in the UK from mid-April. When talking about this matter, FACUA said: “The association asks the government to follow the example of the United Kingdom, which has just approved this measure of protection for its most-vulnerable people”. 

It continued by praising how this “aims to minimise the risks to consumers by preventing them from accumulating debts due to gambling”, while also crediting the UK for being the first nation to restrict credit card use for such practices. 

How has Spain been tightening its online gambling regulation so far?

Ever since it came into power, the new Spanish coalition government has made it clear that it plans to tighten gambling regulations here. 

Part of its plans includes the introduction of tobacco-style advertising restrictions. In Spain, companies of this kind are only allowed to advertise at the point of sale – plus in non-EU publications that don’t directly target EU audiences. 

The above forms part of its wider six-point strategy, which includes a range of other proposed restrictions. Some of these include limiting the proximity of gambling outlets to schools, in addition to stopping such places from opening before 10 p.m. each day. 

What has been the response to these proposals elsewhere? 

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EBGA) is unsure about whether or not Spain’s gambling restrictions will work. 

Last week, it commented: “In various jurisdictions, the introduction of well-meaning consumer protection measures have had an actual counterproductive effect. They pushed players towards unregulated, offshore websites – which exposes them to dangerous practices and a lack of legal recourse when their consumer rights and protections are being trampled on.” 

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