Spain Updates Problem Gambling Policies, Calls For Public Input

Posted on: January 7, 2022, 09:07h. 

Last updated on: January 7, 2022, 02:24h.

Spain continues to review its gambling ecosystem and is focusing on responsible gambling. To formulate its next set of rules, it wants the public to weigh in on problem gambling treatment.

Alberto Garzón
Alberto Garzón, Spain’s Minister of Consumer Affairs. One of his leading responsibilities for 2022 is updating gambling regulations to improve treatment and addiction programs. (Image: Consumer Eroski)

One of the main targets of the review is responsible gambling. As more forms of gambling have been introduced, there has been a piecemeal approach to regulations that makes widespread monitoring difficult.

The country’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs was tasked with streamlining the framework and oversight.

Earlier this week, it introduced a public consultation period to give it a hand. The goal is to create viable guidelines that can be implemented across all of the country’s autonomous regions.

Ministry Increasing Interest in Responsible Gaming

The Ministry hopes to create an optimal support network to “share and encourage scientific knowledge about the effects of problem gaming.” This information will allow Spain’s regionally managed health agencies to fight gambling addiction and other behavioral disorders.

This order 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,” the Ministry of Consumer Affairs’ statement reads

The Ministry undertook its new project and highlighted multiple complexities in regard to the establishment of a functional regulatory basis. That basis will be used for the granting of subsidies to regional agencies and partners. Those subsidies 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 leading department responsible for taxing Spain’s gaming sector by the changes to Spain’s Federal Budget 2021. It promised to spend 25% of the accrued taxes for developing Spain’s federal safer gambling framework and promoting unified RET discipline.

The Ministry has proposed Chapter II to the consultation of new grant-making and management protocols. A new evaluation committee will manage the system. It will also be responsible for reviewing applicants for the grants.

The evaluation committee will implement a new evaluation procedure for treatment applications. It will also support the Ministry’s primary responsibility, which is to distribute regional subsidies.

When everything is ready, and where needed, the evaluation committee will receive support from other government entities. Both the Spanish Registry of Clinical Studies and the National Drugs Council will provide support for the gambling treatment initiatives.

Spain Looks to Keep Gambling Safe

Spain’s gambling market is robust by most measurements. The number of gamblers who fall into the “problem gambling” range rose in recent years but has since declined.

In 2019, based on the results of a national survey, 6.7% of the population between 15 and 64 years old was part of the problem gambling segment. This was an increase from 3.5% a year earlier.

However, the level dropped off significantly the following year. Another survey, conducted by Spain’s Carlos III University, showed that the rate had fallen to 0.25%. The government believes implementing updated responsible gambling and gambling addiction programs will help keep it at that level.