The head of Spain's gambling regulator cited various studies showing that problem gambling in Spain is not a public health issue.
Gambling restrictions are preventative, says DGOJ
The director general of Spain's gambling regulator , Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) , Mikel Arana , said that harmful gambling is not a public health problem. However, the government is making a conscious effort to heavily regulate the industry.
During a teleconference organized by the youth union of the Madrid Workers' Commission (CCOO) , Arana made the case for gambling.
"The vast majority of people who gamble online or offline do so for recreational purposes and it is not a health problem for them.
Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) Director-General Mikel Arana
The CCOO chief referred to the results of the prevalence study conducted by the DGOJ itself and the National Drug Plan . The results show that problem gambling behavior is at a minimum level in the country. However, he added that preventive measures are still needed to protect gamblers from increasing their consumption. Arana also denied any pressure on behalf of the company against the Royal Decree on online gaming advertising.
Jdigital requires an empirical look at gambling regulations
The Spanish government has introduced a number of restrictions in the gambling sector. These include, but are not limited to, a ban on advertising outside the hours of 1:00 to 5:00 , a ban on sponsorship and welcome bonuses . The DGOJ is also working to launch a new authority to harmonize gambling requirements . The measure is aimed at Spain's 17 autonomous regions .
The Spanish digital games association responded to the regulator's statement, saying it was evidence of the deliberate arbitrariness and disproportionality behind the royal decree. Jdigital said the decree will most likely lead to more harm and lack of protection for citizens than before.
Jdigital points out that Spain's online gaming market is one of the most regulated in the world. While it sets a good example for other countries, regulations should be balanced and based on real data, such as that shared by the head of DGOJ. Otherwise, restrictive measures would benefit unlicensed operators and expose players to threats.
Various organisations have criticised the Spanish restrictions on the sector. They claim that the restrictions seriously limit the ability of operators to carry out their activities. As a result, operators are at a disadvantage 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 a problem in Spain due to the growing number of black market operators.