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Gambling is not a public health problem, says Spanish regulator

Director general of the Spanish gambling regulator (DGOJ) contends that gambling in Spain isn't a public health problem amidst tighter restrictions on the industry

While the Spanish government ramps up their efforts to regulate the gaming industry, director general of the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) Mikel Arana contended in a conference that gambling is not a public health problem but rather a leisurely activity. 

Addressing the series of events, director general of the DGOJ Mikel Arana in a conference call with the Madrid Workers Commissions (CCOO), stated that most gamblers play at their leisure without adverse effects to their health. He said:

That does not mean, however, that it is not necessary to try to prevent them from increasing their levels of play,

Spanish online gambling trade association Jdigital believes that the regulations may cause damage and leave the system more vulnerable than it was before. Calling the advert regulations arbitrary and disproportionate, while also stating that Spain’s gambling market is the most regulated in the world and a point of reference for other countries in terms of good practice.

The association backed their statement by citing latest reports of Spain’s National Drugs Plan which shows gambling problem prevalence in Spain is less than 0.5% amongst people aged 15 to 64 - which has been consistent since 2015 and has shown tendencies of a possible decline. 

It, therefore, called for “balanced and proportionate” regulations based on data. In effect, a study by the University Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M) found that the country has a problem  gambling rate of 0.3% despite 84.9% of the population claiming to be gamblers. This is one of the lowest rates worldwide.

In addition, following the Spanish Governments efforts to regulate the gambling sector through its introduction of advertising restrictions in November 2020, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs emphasised its plan to further tighten restrictions.

The regulations implemented include limits on the duration of gambling adverts on TV and radio, a ban on all offers of promotional acquisition, and the gambling sponsorship of sports teams.

Who is Mikel Arana?

Mikel_Arana_EtxezarretaMikel Arana is the Director-General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ) in Spain. He leads the organisation that controls the regulation of online gambling, and land-based betting and lottery across the nation. Prior to DGOJ, Arana served as an auditor for the Economic Control Office of the Basque Government and a member of the Basque regional parliament. 

Source:  iGaming Business 

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