Spain wants public input as it updates problem gambling policies

Posted: Jan 7, 2022, 9:07 a.m.

Last update on: January 7, 2022, 9:07 a.m.

Spain continues to review its gaming ecosystem and focus on responsible gaming. In formulating his next set of rules, he wants the public to speak out on the treatment of problem gambling.

Alberto Garzon
Alberto Garzón, Spanish Minister of Consumer Affairs. One of its main responsibilities for 2022 is to update gambling regulations to improve treatment and drug addiction programs. (Image: consumer Eroski)

Over the past two years, Spain has taken a closer look at its gaming environment. One of the main goals of the review is responsible gaming. As more and more forms of gambling have been introduced, there has been a piecemeal approach to regulation which makes widespread control difficult.

The country’s consumer ministry has been tasked with streamlining the framework and oversight. Earlier this week, he instituted a public consultation period to give him a hand. The aim is to create viable guidelines that can be implemented in all autonomous regions of the country.

Growing interest of the ministry in responsible gaming

The ministry hopes to create an optimal support network to “share and encourage scientific knowledge on the effects of problem gambling”. This information will enable regional health agencies in Spain to tackle gambling addiction and other behavioral disorders.

This decree establishes the regulatory bases for the granting of subsidies to develop research activities related to the prevention of gambling disorders, their effects or the risks associated with gambling activities ”, indicates the press release from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

The ministry embarked on its new project and highlighted multiple complexities in establishing a functional regulatory basis. This database will be used for granting grants to regional agencies and partners. These grants are designed for the development of problem gambling research, education and treatment programs.

Proposals already on the table

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs is the main department responsible for taxing the gaming industry in Spain through changes to Spain’s 2021 federal budget. It has pledged to spend 25% of accumulated taxes to develop the safer federal gaming framework. Spain and promote a unified RET discipline.

The ministry proposed Chapter II of the consultation of the new protocols for granting and managing grants. A new evaluation committee will manage the system. It will also be responsible for reviewing applicants for grants.

The evaluation committee will set up a new procedure for evaluating treatment requests. It will also support the ministry’s primary responsibility, which is to distribute regional grants.

When everything is ready, and if necessary, the evaluation committee will receive support from other government entities. The Spanish Registry of Clinical Studies and the National Drugs Council will support gambling treatment initiatives.

Spain seeks to protect the game

The gambling market in Spain is robust by most measures. The number of players falling under the category of “problem games” has increased in recent years, but has since declined.

In 2019, according to the results of a national survey, 6.7% of the population aged 15 to 64 was in the problem gambling segment. This is an increase from 3.5% a year earlier.

However, the level dropped significantly the following year. Another survey, conducted by the Spanish University Carlos III, showed that the rate had fallen to 0.25%. The implementation of updated responsible gambling and gambling addiction programs will help keep it at this level.

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