Almost half of Spanish young people play online gambling

by Lorraine Williamson
online gambling

Almost half of online gamblers are under 25 years old. This number has almost doubled in the last 5 years. The Minister of Consumer Affairs is working hard to distort Spain’s gambling law and is now launching an online campaign to warn of the dangers of gambling. 

In 2016, 28% of younger Spaniards were still engaged in online gambling, in 2021 this percentage rose to 48%. These figures from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs were presented by the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling. 

Rap on social media should warn of dangers online gambling 

The directorate launched the campaign #pero because problems with gambling always start with a “but”. This is a word gamblers use to justify themselves. In the coming two weeks, a video can be seen on Youtube and various social media in which various people ‘rapping’ list all kinds of excuses from gambling addicts. The rap was sung by Javi Ferrara of the Madrid band Parquesvr. 

Gambling problem for everyone, but increasingly for young people 

During the campaign presentation, Minister Garzón of Consumer Affairs said that online gambling is a problem that affects all ages, genders and social classes. The comment he makes here is that it does matter whether young people grow up in a good and safe neighborhood or in a deprived area where gambling halls and betting offices are being built up at a rapid pace. Young people who grow up in the latter type of neighborhood are simply more susceptible to (online) gambling. 

Hospital in Madrid has gambling addiction department 

Angela Ibañez, head of psychiatry, says that Ramón y Cajal Hospital, where she works, even has a gambling addiction unit that she is in charge of. Ibañez says that 2.5% of Spaniards suffer from gambling problems and 1% of the Spanish population is addicted to it. According to most studies, this percentage is higher for minors, namely between 2.5% and 5%. 

The psychiatry department has noticed a change in the profile of gambling addicts in recent years. A few years ago, it was mostly middle-aged people, and slot machines were the main thing. Now the starting age is getting lower and more use is being made of betting offices and online gambling because of its low threshold. 

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Gambling behavior also seems to have become normal due to the publicity that is made for it and the efforts of young popular people or influencers. Now we see the consequences of this approach, especially in young people, according to the psychiatrists. 

Spain has flexible rules regarding gambling 

Gambling and online gambling is in principle allowed in Spain. However, in Spain, (online) providers must apply for a license to be able to offer games of chance. Unfortunately, this rule does not appear to be watertight in practice, certainly not with the arrival of online gambling sites. As a supervisor, the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) is responsible for issuing permits. 

Spanish minister wants to restrict rules on gambling 

In August 2021, Minister Garzón managed to ban gambling advertising for much of the day; advertisements and commercials for this purpose may only be shown between 1.00 am and 5.00 am. 

Last year, the minister already announced that he wanted to introduce even more measures against games of chance and gambling. For example, consideration is being given to the prohibition of gambling rooms in cities or limited opening hours. The minister also recently spoke about banning gambling houses near schools. 

Spain’s upper house last October approved a total reform of Spain’s gambling law. The aim is to gain more control over match fixing and better protect problem players. 

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