Spain’s Capital Expands Initiative to Raise Gambling Awareness Among Youth

Posted on: April 7, 2022, 09:25h. 

Last updated on: April 7, 2022, 09:39h.

Spain’s capital city, Madrid, launched a program in a few districts in 2020 that targets gambling and gambling disorder awareness among youth. The pilot proved to be more successful than anyone anticipated, and will now grow to cover more of the city.

Cybele Palace
Cybele Palace in Madrid, Spain sits in the background. The country’s capital city is expanding a program to raise gambling problem awareness among adolescents. (Image: The Trip Boutique)

Madrid leaders created “La Contrapartida” (Counterpart) two years ago to address adolescent gambling and prevent gambling disorders in adolescents and young people. They extended the program to four districts at the time in an effort to determine whether it was a viable program.

Counterpart has apparently been a huge success. With that in mind, the city is going to expand the program to cover eight more districts. Eventually, it’s possible that it might become a national program.

Stopping Gambling Problems

Generally speaking, Spain has one of the lowest problem gambling rates in Europe. It is under 1%, and the country wants to keep it that way.

A Madrid spokesperson and the delegate of Security and Emergencies of the City Council, Inmaculada Sanz, announced today that the Governing Board has authorized a two-year contract to keep Counterpart alive. It is part of the city’s Strategy for Attention and Prevention of Gambling Addiction (SAPGA), and will receive €1.2 million (US$1.3 million) from the local government.

Counterpart will launch in Centro, Puente de Vallecas, Moratalaz, Ciudad Lineal, Villaverde, Villa de Vallecas, Vicálvaro and San Blas-Canillejas. It initially launched in Latina, Carabanchel, Usera, and Tetuán. The objective is to provide coverage to the entire city.

This program has been an excellent proposal for prevention and intervention on gambling disorder, since it proposes a global intervention on people who need it, while setting the objective of sensitizing all citizens,” said Inmaculada Sanz.

SAPGA is part of the Municipal Strategy for the Care and Prevention of Gambling Addiction program. The program establishes synergies between the different areas of municipal activity to prevent the risks of gambling addiction and offer care and counseling to those who suffer from it.

The objectives are to raise awareness and increase the degree of knowledge of citizens about the risks of gambling. The project works to modify the attitude and social norms toward gambling activity. It proactively supports initiatives to avoid or delay the age of onset of participation of adolescents and young people.

In addition, SAPGA assesses individual cases in which risks or derived problems are detected. The program provides skills and resources to protect youth and adults from gambling risks. The actions will be developed in the educational, community, and training contexts of the districts.

A Network of Change

The program was successful even as Spain was on lockdown during COVID-19. This, Madrid asserts, is a strong indication of its validity and capabilities. Still, the pandemic served as a useful tool for the integration of SAPGA into social media and more, which was more active during the lockdowns.

In addition, SAPGA incorporates specific channels for the coordination of resources and programs of regional boards. These can combine their efforts to address the physical and mental issues many gambling addicts develop.

This initiative is the result of collaboration and coordination between several government agencies in Madrid. It also had the participation of the city’s health agency and the Delegated Area of Territorial Coordination, Transparency and Citizen Participation. The latter is a government entity that includes civilian participation to ensure transparency in certain aspects of the government’s operations.