Transparency, communication and the influence of the gambling industry on public administrations and civil society
The private gambling industry is a non-transparent interest group that lobbies both administrations for a favourable regulatory framework and civil society to encourage it to gamble. The aim of both is to increase their profits. In Spain, private gambling was illegal until the approval of Royal Decree Law 16/1977 of 25 February. Despite legalisation, and subsequent regulations governing it, the private gambling sector is a historically stigmatised area of business. The reasons for this stigma can be reduced to two. The first is that it is an economic sector with a large volume of business that hides opaque practices. Secondly, private gambling is responsible for the fact that there are currently 120,000 gambling addicts in Catalonia. As a result, the real imaginary of the population stigmatises and mistrusts it. In order to continue to operate and obtain more profits, the private gambling industry has put into action different strategies to reverse the stigma and present itself as a legal, transparent and socially responsible sector. Stigmatisation cannot be a ploy by the gambling industry to articulate a set of opaque and unethical practices.
To reverse the consequences of the restrictions of Royal Decree 958/2020, of 3 November, on Commercial Communications of Gambling Activities. A law awaited by broad sectors, but criticised by the gambling industry because its articles focus on prohibiting it. The most important elements of the law are: prohibition of sports sponsorship (T-shirts, names of teams, stadiums and sports competitions), prohibition of bonus bonuses, prohibition of the appearance of celebrities in advertisements, prohibition of advertising on TV and radio outside the time slot between 1:00h and 05:00h, prohibition of advertising on the Internet, obligation of tipsters to publish all the results of their bets. Non-compliance will be punishable by fines of 100,000 to one million euros. The new law “de facto” eradicates private gambling advertising. This law opens a new scenario in the field of private gambling. Most of the articles have a moratorium between May and August 2021. It is therefore crucial to know how the gambling lobby is moving to circumvent the restrictions of the new gambling law. The contacts between the gambling lobby and certain political agents have been proven. We are a long way from total transparency in the sector. How many contacts does the gambling industry have with politicians in Catalonia and in the Barcelona metropolitan area? And, beyond the quantitative dimension, the most important thing is the qualitative impact. What has the gambling industry obtained from the administrations thanks to its lobbying? And, above all, what will it obtain? What actions will the gambling industry put into practice in order to continue making profits? These are questions that our research provides answers to.