Date: 09.05.2024

by Kajetan Sawicz

Spain’s DGOJ Imposes Significant Fines on Gambling Platforms in 2023

Spain’s Directorate General for the Regulation of Gaming (DGOJ) has announced imposing fines totaling EUR 81 million on 17 gambling platforms during the second half of 2023 due to serious or severe violations.

Overview of Fines and Violations

In the first half of 2023, the DGOJ had already sanctioned 30 operators, amounting to EUR 71.4 million in fines. Since the public disclosure of such penalties began in July 2021, a total of 139 fines have been levied, totaling EUR 333 million.

Mikel Arana, Director General of the DGOJ, emphasized the importance of these fines in combating illegal gambling in Spain. He stated, “As soon as we detect them we try to block them because they are the gateway for minors, or for people who have registered in the General Registry of Gambling Access Interdictions – the self-exclusion registry -, and also do not apply the safe gambling measures in force in Spain.”

Significant Offenders and Penalties

The operators sanctioned for very serious infringements include Rabadi, Uno Digital Media, Eight Stars, Mrsloty Games Tech, Red Entertainment, Onyxion Malta, Trw Corporate, Vdsoft&Script Development, and Uniquegame. Each of these operators faced a fine of EUR 5 million and a two-year website closure.

Moderate Infractions and Compliance Improvements

Seven other operators, including Gamesys, 888, Esgaming, and Codere, were found to have less severe infractions, typically involving the unintended access of minors or self-excluded individuals due to technical issues. “They occur when a legal operator allows access to minors or people registered in the self-exclusion register. It usually happens because of technical problems. We notify them, and they usually fix it quickly, but even if they do it carries a penalty,” Arana explained. These penalties amounted to EUR 1.1 million in total.

Arana also noted an improvement in compliance among licensed operators, suggesting that such penalties will become less frequent. He added, “In any case, licensed operators are getting better and better at complying with the rules, so these types of penalties will become less and less frequent.”

Challenges in Combating Illegal Gambling

Arana highlighted Spain’s leadership in Europe in blocking illegal gambling websites, stating, “Illegal gambling in Spain is below 3%, we are leaders in Europe in blocking this type of pages, although sometimes with some it is like playing cat and mouse because we close them and they open them again under another name.”

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