Europe’s leading betting industry body has commented on the proposed reforms to the gaming market in Spain that were released last month.

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has issued qualified support for the plans, but has also urged the government to make sure that the new rules are both proportionate and balanced.

The plans, which were first published in a 50-page document released by the government at the end of December, include a range of potential measures such as severe restrictions on advertising, as well as ongoing monitoring of all betting activity in the Spanish sector.

In a lengthy statement issues on the official EGBA website, the organisation’s Secretary General, Maarten Haijer, warned the Spanish government that in other countries, many customer protection initiatives ended up being counter productive as they led to online gambling customers shifting towards illegal and unregulated sites, putting them at greater risk:

“The Spanish government should pay attention to this risk and ensure that new measures, which might be considered, are mindful of the need to ensure a high participation rate of players in the Spanish regulated market, rather than the offshore market.

Haijer went on to warn that this was a particularly important consideration when talking about gambling advertising, which he said was an important tool for directing customers to legal sites.

The EGBA statement also said that the new rules should be focused on boosting social responsibility and the protection of under-age and vulnerable individuals. This appears to suggest support for some of the government’s proposals in this area, including a locally-focused initiative that will see the national government cooperating with Spanish regions to ensure that gambling premises are closed before 22:00 and that they are not located near to schools.

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