Spain’s Minister of Consumer Affairs has made public the ministry’s plans to introduce changes to the country’s taxation on gambling and sports betting operators.
Ministry to Tackle Challenges of Brick-And-Mortar Venues
Alberto Garzón, Spain’s Minister of Consumer Affairs, shared his department’s plans to revise the taxation of gambling and sports betting operators across the country in an interview with Europa Press radio. The minister revealed that Spain’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the Ministry of Finance are both discussing potential new formulas to the tax regime, although there is no definite proposal yet.
Garzón highlighted that the Ministry of Consumer Affairs will focus on the challenges arising from brick-and-mortar venues. The minister said that the gambling regulation of physical sites is in the hands of the country’s autonomous governments, and as a result, the legislation differs across the various communities. The objective is to create unified regulations applicable to all 17 autonomous communities.
The initiative was initially announced at the end of 2020 and consists of establishing a new agency responsible for harmonizing the country’s federal gambling rules and standards. Apart from the standardized laws, the ministry will aim to create a federal self-exclusion scheme and an online gambling player registry. This step is a crucial part of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs ‘phase 2’ of revising Spanish gambling laws.
Additionally, the head of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs emphasized that the pandemic has led many people to spend more hours gambling as a way to cope with the situation and its negative consequences. And although the opening hours of the establishments have been reduced, the chances of potential health problems have increased greatly.
Gambling Becomes a Social Issue Across Spanish Cities
Garzón said that Spain’s physical betting venues are becoming a preferred place for entertainment among the younger population, which is a social issue and should be addressed.
The leisure model of cities is another major challenge, Garzón added:
“Cities that have more gambling houses than green parks, the message that is passed on to people is the leisure of young people has to be done there and that is a starting problem that the pandemic exacerbates.”
Garzón indicated that the pandemic has had a negative impact on public health in terms of gambling consumption, but it is still too early to draw conclusions.
What is the Magnitude of Problem Gambling in Spain?
In January, the director-general of Spain’s gambling regulator, the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ), Mikel Arana, said that Spain does not have a public health problem related to gambling. The regulator’s head commented on the results of studies carried out by the DGOJ itself and the National Plan on Drugs.
As a response to this statement, Spain’s digital gaming association said it is proof of the conscious arbitrariness and disproportionality behind the Royal Decree that introduces a series of restrictions on the sector.