Spain Appoints Andrés Urbiola for Gambling Overhaul

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Spain Appoints Andrés Urbiola for Gambling Overhaul
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The Spanish government has appointed prominent economist Andrés Barragán Urbiola to lead its ongoing alteration of local gambling laws as Secretary General of the nation’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Gaming. 

The move from the Council of Ministers followed a recent request from the European country’s Consumer Affairs and Social Rights Minister, Pablo Bustinduy, for the government of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to name a dedicated figure to oversee any proposed gambling reforms across all aspects of gambling, including sportsbetting and casinos.

Diverse Dealings

Spain’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Social Rights revealed Urbiola previously worked as Deputy Director General for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after a two-year spell from 2021 in which he served as Chief of Staff for the Ministry of Finance. 

The Complutense University of Madrid graduate also had a stint as a director in the Official Credit Institute before moving on to act as an advisor to the nation’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Business.

During his time at the Ministry of Economy, Urbiola helped to develop economic and financial policies concerning a wide range of sectors. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Social Rights declared he had moreover assisted in the formulation of government programs to assist companies left reeling from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Urbiola has a degree in physical sciences with a specialty in theoretical physics and a degree in philosophy, both from the Complutense University of Madrid,” read a statement from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Social Rights. 

“Since 2017 he has been a career official of the Higher Corps of Commercial Technicians and State Economists. Through different courses he has specialized in financial analysis, economic policy and international institutions.”

Administrative Adjustment 

Bustinduy was named Consumer Affairs and Social Rights Minister in November after predecessor Alberto Garzon decided not to serve in Sanchez’ new ‘progressive left’ coalition government. However, the 38-year-old civil servant vowed to continue his forerunner’s work in reorganizing the nation’s sizable online and land-based gambling scenes.

Under 2020’s Royal Decree on Gambling Advertising legislation, Spain has already banned bookmakers from sponsoring sporting organizations such as soccer clubs and restricted related television and radio advertisements to the late-night hours. 

Bustinduy explained he wants to go even further by developing centralized controls and unified standards for online casinos and land-based gambling under the aegis of last year’s draft Royal Decree on Responsible Gaming Environments measure.

Consolidated Controls

Bustinduy asserted he has personally selectedUrbiola to lead his efforts at ensuringSpanish online and land-based gambling operators are subject to some of Europe’s strictest regulations by the end of the year. 

To address potential addiction challenges and create a safer playing environment, the government minister pronounced he is to furthermore soon begin pushing for the creation of a centralized player registry as well as mandatory identification protocols for punters under the age of 25.