The head of Spain’s gambling regulator cited different studies showing problem gambling in Spain is not a public health problem.
Gambling Restrictions Are Preventive, DGOJ Says
The director-general of Spain’s gambling regulator, the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ), Mikel Arana, said that harmful gambling does not represent a public health problem. However, the government is making conscious efforts to heavily regulate the industry.
During a conference call organized by the youth union of Madrid Workers Commission (CCOO), Arana argued the case for gambling.
“The vast majority of people who gamble, whether online or offline, do so as a leisure activity and it is not a health problem for them”.Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) director-general Mikel Arana
The head of the CCOO was referring to the results of prevalence studies carried out by the DGOJ itself and the National Plan on Drugs. The results show that problematic gambling behavior is at minimum levels in the country. However, he added that preventive measures are still needed to protect players from increasing their consumption. Arana also denied any pressures on behalf of the business against the Royal Decree on online gaming advertising.
Jdigital Demands Empirical Perspective on Gambling Laws
Spain’s government has introduced a series of restrictions in the gambling sector. They include a ban on broadcast advertising outside of the 1 am to 5 am slot, prohibition on sponsorships, and welcome bonuses, among others. The DGOJ is also working towards the launch of a new body aimed at harmonizing gambling requirements. The measure targets the country’s 17 autonomous regions of Spain.
Spain’s digital gaming association responded to the regulator’s statement saying it is proof of the conscious arbitrariness and disproportionality behind the Royal Decree. Jdigital said the Decree will most likely lead to more damage and lack of protection to citizens than previously.
Jdigital highlights that the online gaming market in Spain is one of the most regulated in the world. Although it serves as a good example to other countries, regulations should be balanced and based on real data such as those shared by the head of the DGOJ. Otherwise, the restrictive measures would benefit unlicensed operators and would expose players to threats.
Various organizations have criticized Spain’s constraints on the sector. They claim that the limits severely reduce the ability of operators to carry out their activity. As a result, operators find themselves in an unfavorable position against unlicensed competitors. In July, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) issued a statement against the advertising bans. It warned that unregulated gambling is becoming an issue in Spain due to the increasing number of black market operators.