Games of chance
Draft Decree amending the General Regulation on gaming in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country
Pursuant to Law 4/1991 of 8 November 1991 on gaming in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country, Decree 120/2016 of 27 July 2016 approving the General Regulation on gaming in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country was enacted. In turn, this decree was implemented by the Order of 17 March 2017 of the Minister for Security laying down the technical requirements and specifications of gaming machines and their interconnection conditions.
In relation to the aforementioned implementing order, the European Commission issued a communication stating that the ‘AR’ type amusement machines covered by the draft order were subject to the provisions of Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market, the scope of which excludes gambling activities, including lotteries, that involve monetary bets.
Basque legislation was brought in line with said Directive by Law 7/2012 of 23 April 2012. This law excluded recreational amusement machines from gaming legislation but did extend the legislation to cover the aforementioned redemption or ‘AR’ amusement gaming machines, albeit without stipulating any mandatory prior authorisation for them. The difference between amusement machines and these AR gaming machines is that payment gives users not only a usage time but also the opportunity to win cash prizes in addition to the service provided.
It cannot be denied that the legal systems around us have progressively been excluding any references to amusement machines, including AR machines, from gaming legislation. In response to such developments, the Basque Country has informed the European Commission that it has agreed to amend its own legislation in favour of that of the EU. It is for this reason that all references to such recreational machines and thus to amusement arcades shall be deleted from the regulation.
In addition, the membership of the gaming technical advisory committee shall be altered to include representatives from the manufacturing sector, since they may provide relevant input but were not included in the original structure. This committee is merely a forum for participation – it does not decide on or provide information on the related approvals in this area.
The use of the terms ‘operating licence’ and ‘gaming machine’ is specified more accurately in some provisions where confusion was possible.
The provision on the consequences of non-compliance with the requirements stated in the gaming machine installation form are also amended for cases where the person responsible is the owner of the business and not the gaming operator, clarifying that in such cases the operating licence may remain in place even if the 10 % limit stipulated in the regulation has been exceeded, since owners cannot be held accountable if this situation occurs unexpectedly.
The authorities are given the option to use the computerised distance measurement tools of the Basque Country Spatial Data Infrastructure (IDE) in order to measure these distances.
The list of events in Annex III to the regulation is deleted. Despite already listing a huge number of federated sports, the annex goes on to extend the scope to cover any other event. As such, it is of little use, since it states that bets may be placed on any event not covered by the scope of the prohibitions included in the text itself. As a result of this amendment, other provisions specifying the events on which bets are permitted within the text also need amending.
Likewise, the Basque Country has taken the opportunity to correct any errors or inaccuracies where the meaning cannot be gleaned from the published text but which need clarification to ensure the regulation is understood.