Ban on Gambling Ads Partially Reviewed by Spanish Supreme Court

The highly disputed Royal Decree 958/2020 has been the subject of a ruling of the Spanish Supreme Court partially repealing the ban on gambling advertising. Although it had at first rejected the appeal filed by the Spanish Digital Gaming Association (Jdigital) against the decree, the Court has reviewed and annulled several measures therefore partially upholding the appeal.

As a consequence, it is now allowed to market to players who have had an account for less than 30 days, advertise in establishments designated for the sale of lottery games and which are accessible by the public, as well as on video sharing platforms and other social media to all users over the age of 18. Also, the use of celebrities and influencers in advertisements is now allowed.

In announcing its ruling, the Supreme Court said: “The ruling considers that advertising is part of the freedom of business and is subject to limits. However, such limits and prohibitions, insofar as they also affect the exercise of a lawful business activity, must have sufficient legal coverage, without being able to be regulated by independent regulatory standards unrelated to the criteria and limits set by the legislator.”

For the Court there is no legal basis for establishing a limitation affecting the very essence of advertising, which is to offer and promote a product or a service to attract new customers. A general prohibition does not limit its reach to a certain promotion particularly detrimental or aimed at a specific vulnerable group, hence, it cannot be considered a proportionate measure limited to offers and practices that cause dangerous addiction for certain risk groups such as minors or consumers.

The restricting articles not having sufficient legal basis cannot be invoked for the protection of minors, therefore it is not possible to limit the general scope of advertising through specific means to avoid its use by minors.

The voidance does not affect other prohibitions such as the sponsoring of sporting events or broadcasting which are viewed by minors.

Interested in a chat about how operators in Spain and other jurisdictions manage to stay compliant in with marketing rules and regulations? Speak to Lawrence Marchese (, Mel McElhatton ( and Thees Buschmann ( from Chevron Group. Follow us on LinkedIn for more industry related news.