Gambling Addiction To Be Treated As A Mental Illness In Spain
Spain’s responsible gambling policies are set to be revised based on information provided by the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ), the country’s gambling authority. Based on the new policies, gambling addiction will now be considered a mental illness.
The revisions have already been voted for by the Responsible Gaming Advisory Council (CAJR) and are set to take effect soon.
The DGOJ, for its part, is trying to support the revisions by promoting responsible gambling practices in a country whose gross gaming revenue (GGR) continues to rise every year.
By reclassifying gambling addiction as a mental illness, Spain will now be able to earmark government funds toward the treatment and rehabilitation of gambling addicts. The DGOJ and CAJR are currently in the process of developing a criteria that will assist in the diagnosing of problem gamblers and provide them with the appropriate treatment.
DGOJ Bolstering Responsible Gambling
One of the DGOJ’s goals in addressing gambling addiction is to reveal the actual economic and social impact of gambling addiction in Spain. An exclusion system for problem gamblers is also in the works for Spain. A list containing the names of gambling addicts will be developed and maintained by the state, which will be used to prevent problem gamblers from playing in licensed casinos.
Licensed gaming firms have already been asked by the DGOJ to verify their customers’ age and identity to prevent the occurrence of money-laundering and identity theft, as well as protect their own customers.
The new exclusion system will be used by the DGOJ to advise gambling firms on their customers; they will immediately receive a report if they have a problem gambler customer. In support of the new exclusion system, the DGOJ will also have to ensure that the identity verification process is up to date.
Gambling Debate in Spain
Gambling continues to be a hot topic in Spain. The ombudsman of Spain, Francisco Fernandez Marugan has targeted the gambling industry for not having better laws to protect Spaniards. In May 2019, Marugan sought stricter regulations for gambling after a 15 year old won $220,000 from the national lottery. The legal gambling age in Spain is 18.
One point of contention in the gambling debate is how to regulate gambling advertisements in the country. While some segments favour limited gambling advertisements that do not target children and problem gamblers, many are in favour of an outright ban on gambling advertisements, similar to what Italy has done.