Spain to Issue Grants for Gambling Harm Research

Posted on: May 27, 2022, 05:52h. 

Last updated on: May 27, 2022, 10:10h.

Compared to many other countries, Spain has a very low percentage of problem gamblers. Still, the country wants to increasingly investigate gambling harm, and will soon accept bids from research candidates.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez
Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, addresses Parliament. The government has approved a measure that will increase gambling harm research in the country. (Image: El País)

Yesterday, the government set the regulatory basis for the granting of subsidies for the development of research activities related to the prevention of gambling. Among the objectives is a desire to understand the effects derived from gambling disorders and the risks associated with the activity.

The measure was made official through the publication of Order CSM/472/2022 in the Official State Gazette. The rule, which enters into force today, bears the signature of the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Carlos Garzón Espinosa. The government will choose the study’s leaders through a competitive tender.

More Research Into Gambling

The order’s text asserts that gambling and betting are “complex activities” that carry a potential risk that can produce, in certain individuals, a compulsive or pathological gambling behavior. It specifies that the negative consequences are projected not only on the person who suffers from the gambling addiction, but also on their family, social, or work environment. It can also impact society as a whole.

As a result, the research will provide guidance for regulators and industry participants. The order states all must have thorough knowledge about how to minimize the negative effects that gambling produces in certain participants. They must understand the topic from all angles, including the “development of activities to promote that purpose of public interest.”

The subsidies included in the order aim to enhance scientific knowledge about the effects of the practice of gambling. They will also study the risks associated with this activity from all possible perspectives.

Likewise, it was defined that the competent body for the call for these subsidies is the Ministry of Consumption. It will convene these subsidies from the corresponding budget item or items of Spain’s General State Budget.

The tender will be published on the website of Spain’s gaming regulator, the General Directorate of Gambling Regulation (DGOJ, for its Spanish acronym). It will also be in the National Database of Subsidies, and the Official State Gazette.

Concentrated Efforts to Address Gambling Harm

Spain’s gambling market includes a problem gambling segment that barely registers. A study in 2020 showed that the segment was only 0.25% of the entire market. Other studies put the figure at around 1%.

The research will help the country keep it that way. It can also help other countries get their gambling problems under control. Many developed countries have a relatively low percentage of the population that falls into the problem gambling category. However, other countries deal with double-digit rates.

Spain’s program also covers the conditions that the research teams must meet, the expenses that could be covered by the grant, the evaluation criteria for selecting the projects, and more. There are several lines of research open to explore.

Early detection of participants with risky or more serious gambling behavior and structural characteristics of lotteries, gambling, poker and betting are among the research targets. Included are mechanisms, instruments, or processes to minimize the negative consequences associated with gambling activities, and the relationship between the video game sector and the gaming activities sector, such as lotteries, gambling, poker, and betting.

Also to be studied: Individual, family, or social harm associated with gambling activities as it relates to personal health, emotional or psychological impact, financial difficulties, employment or academic training, difficulties in social relations or legal problems. Lastly, it includes a study on the gender impact on risky or more serious gambling behaviors.