Strict new gambling measures will be introduced in Spain this year to promote more responsible gambling.
The new restrictions outlined by Spanish lawmakers, are designed to regulate the gambling industry to make operators more accountable and promote responsible gambling among players.
The measures include the regulation of advertising of gambling products. This would be controlled at state level and modelled on the way tobacco products are advertised and regulated in Spain.
Changes to tobacco advertising were introduced 15 years ago. New laws stopped tobacco brands from entering into sponsorship deals in sports and other areas as well as how the tobacco is promoted in the media. The new gambling restrictions could follow this model.
Another measure aims to help players be more aware of healthy gambling habits and ensure they can identify any potentially dangerous gambling patterns. This follows the country’s decision to classify problem gambling as a mental illness.
Other new rules will change how gambling venues operate restricting opening times to after 10pm, how close they are to schools and also display warning signs of the dangers of gambling.
These are the strictest gambling rules to be introduced in any country in an attempt to reduce problem gambling rates in Spain and may be a blueprint for other countries to follow in the future.
The new laws come in to force as the country has been expanding its gambling market. The Spanish Government hopes that the regulations will prevent problem gambling expanding with the market.
According to Spain’s Federation of Rehabilitated Gamblers and Madrid’s Association of psychologists gambling addiction among young Spaniards aged 14 to 21 is the highest in Europe.
In Madrid alone, the number of betting houses has increased an alarming 300 percent since 2013. A total of 40 gambling houses have been opened in the capital’s working-class neighbourhoods of Usera, Ciudad Lineal and Vallecas alone since 2016.
This is partly why the Spanish government is introducing measures to ban betting houses from setting up shop within a 100-metre radius of schools and other educational centres.
However, the most common way in which this age group gets hooked is indeed on the internet, starting with sports betting and then progressing into online poker, perhaps a sign of the times as technology progresses.
The strict new gambling measures have been welcomed by activists fighting to create a safer gambling environment for all customers.