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Spain’s Supreme Court has partially overturned the country’s 2020 ban on gambling advertising.

The court struck five articles from the 2020 Royal Decree, arguing legislation would be needed to make the changes.

The verdict rolls back significant restrictions that have been imposed on gambling advertising in Spanish media.

Operators will now be permitted to advertise online games and offer promotions to new customers. They will also be able to include famous people in their marketing and advertise on social media.

However, some restrictions remain in place. These include a television and radio ban between certain hours and a prohibition on sports sponsorship.

The Supreme Court rejected appeals on those grounds by stating the measures had “sufficient legal coverage” and that the restrictions were proportional.

The case was brought by forward by Spain’s online gambling trade body Jdigital and the Information Media Association (AMI).

The associations questioned the constitutional basis for the decree.

They argued imposing the restrictions through a ministerial decree as opposed to federal legislation was unconstitutional.

The court agreed, ruling that limits and prohibitions on a business’ freedom to advertise “must have sufficient legal coverage”.

Covid-era clampdown on gambling ads

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs’ 2020 decree aimed to prevent minors from being exposed to gambling ads by reforming the gambling advertising laws.

Under the law, advertising was restricted to between 1am and 5am across television, radio, and social media.

Promotions such as bonus bets were largely banned in the regulations, with operators limited to targeting existing players on their platforms with offers.

The decree also mandated age-gating for social media to further prevent under-18s from being exposed to gambling advertising.

The regulations were drawn up by the then minister of consumer affairs Alberto Garzón during Pedro Sánchez’s second government.

The PSOE-led coalition had included the restrictions as part of a Covid-era clamping down on the rise of online gambling advertising.

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