The Supreme Court has refused to provisionally suspend the entry into force, scheduled for May 1, of the veto on the advertising of bookmakers on web pages.
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The Third Section of the Contentious-Administrative Chamber has rejected the request of the Association of Information Media (AMI) to provisionally suspend the entry into force, in May, of article 23.1b) of Royal Decree 958/2020, of 3 November, of commercial communications of gambling activities.
This article prohibits the dissemination of advertising by gambling operators in information society services, except, among other cases, when it is carried out on web pages or applications whose main activity is information on sporting events, as long as they have mechanisms for prevent access by minors and periodically disseminate messages about safe gambling.
To avoid a damage that estimated at 6 million euros, AMI, the employer’s association of the written press, requested in its appeal as a precautionary measure that the entry into force of that article be delayed for four months “or that it be agreed, as a measure positive precautionary, which will enter into force on August 30, 2021, “the Supreme Court explains in a note.
The High Court has rejected that request. He considers that delaying from May 1 to August 30 “is not convincing from the perspective of precautionary protection insofar as it is intended to reject the entry into force of a precept of an executive regulation of the gambling law that, by its own nature, has the vocation to be integrated into the legal system “.
Nor does the Supreme Court appreciate that the damages that may be caused by the entry into force of that article in May “are irreversible, since the application of the new conditions for the dissemination of advertising that are imposed on the operators providing services of the information web owners whose main activity is the information of sporting events, are not likely to generate situations that are impossible or difficult to repair “.
“We consider that the compensation of the previous legal situation would not be complex, if the contentious-administrative appeal were considered, given the economic nature of the damages incurred”, reasons the High Court.
For the Chamber, what is being questioned, in reality, “is the very validity of said third final provision, based on economic criteria, derived from the inappropriateness of applying said regulation coinciding with the dissemination of sporting events that are conducive to online gambling activities, which would cause damage that amounts to almost 6,000,000 euros, without taking into account that, as the State Attorney argues in his opposition brief, it is a general provision of mandatory compliance for all those affected, whose validity cannot be questioned based on interests other than those of the public interest ”.
Public interest reasons
The court emphasizes that the Preamble of the Royal Decree appealed clearly sets out the reasons of public interest that justify the regulation of gambling to reinforce the protection of consumers (particularly the most vulnerable people and groups), in order to avoid addiction to non-responsible gambling activity, which determines a more rigorous control of gambling advertising according to the characteristics of the media in which it is produced, which is due to overriding reasons of general interest.
AMI’s appeal was admitted on January 8 by the Contentious-Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court. With more than eighty associated media and more than thirty-five years of history, AMI “represents the Spanish media, in its different technological platforms, before the different national, European and international institutions,” the employers’ association explains on its website.
The president of AMI is Antonio Fernández-Galiano, in turn president of Unidad Editorial (editor of El Mundo and the sports newspaper Marca, among other media) and as vice-presidents are Manuel Mirat, CEO of Prisa (El País, AS , Cadena Ser …), the CEO of Vocento, Luis Enríquez (who runs the group edited by ABC) or Carlos Godó, his counterpart in the Godó Group (La Vanguardia).