Spain’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs has instructed the General Directorate for Gambling Regulation (DGOJ) to launch a grant scheme to support research on problem gambling harms and addiction.
A €1.6m fund has been created to fund projects which will support Spanish healthcare and welfare organisations in preventing problematic gambling, in addition to reducing “industry risks and other related concerns”.
DGOJ explained that “the grants will be awarded on a competitive basis, and the execution period for beneficiary projects will extend until June 30th, 2024”. Applicants must be based in Spain and belong to specific backgrounds such as public/private universities, academic centres, and social institutions which have demonstrated capacities in ‘research-development-intelligence (RDI).’
The funding scheme will also be made available to public health entities linked to Spain’s National Health System, private research centres and non-profit bodies focused on research activities.
The primary objective of the grant-funding scheme is to discover tools that enable the “early detection of participants with risky or more severe gambling behaviour” and contribute to “minimizing the negative consequences associated with gambling activities”.
A key requirement sees research focused on “individual, family, or social harms associated with gambling activities in any of the following areas: personal health; emotional or psychological impact, financial difficulties, work or academic disruption; difficulties in social relationships; legal issues”.
Submitted studies must examine the “relationships between the video game sector and gambling activities (lotteries, gambling, poker, and/or betting)”, while also incorporating a gender perspective.
Led by Minister Alberto Garzon, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has consistently maintained a strong stance against the expansion of the gambling and betting industry within the country. Garzón recently pointed out that “the most vulnerable, the lower social classes with fewer resources and darker life prospects, are the ones with more temptations to fall into this type of activity, which entails risks that, unfortunately, have gone largely unnoticed in recent years”.
As part of the #PERO campaign launch, Garzón emphasized that fair play is “a public and collective responsibility of the highest order”. Consequently, he has argued against online gambling advertising, licenses for new sports betting operators, and other forms of industry growth.
Gearing up for the launch of the scheme, the DGOJ is conducting a public consultation on gambling regulation in Spain, specifically regarding licenses, authorizations, and registrations within the industry.
The results of the grant-funded research could lead to further regulatory proposals on industry risks. However, Garzón’s specific opinion and stance remain unknown, and new statements are expected after the first part of the application process for interested parties closes on 18 May.
Spanish operators have been given a 12-month period to implement new safer gambling compliance measures which will be adopted as part of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs reform of the 2011 Gambling Law.
Spanish gambling finds itself heading into a transformative period in which licensed operators have been granted 12 months to implement Europe’s toughest compliance measures as a result of the federal approval of the Royal Decree on Responsible Gaming Environments.