SBC News Spain’s gambling prevalence study raises questions on effective protections

Spain’s gambling prevalence study raises questions on effective protections

Spain’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs has published the findings of its “Prevalence Study of Gambling on the General Public of Spain”.

The study was presented to public health and welfare stakeholders who form part of the Responsible Gambling Advisory Council. The council is charged with developing safer gambling policies to protect Spanish consumers from gambling harms.

Research was conducted using 20,000 customised surveys throughout Spain’s 17 autonomous communities –  with each providing ‘a sample selected for its representativeness through a random procedure’.

The Ministry states that the research questions were designed by the scientific Unit of the Responsible Gaming Advisory Council. Gambling prevalence data aims to reflect the Spanish public’s perspectives on variables such as channel, type of player, age, and gaming segment when engaging with gambling activities (retail and online). 

The study further offers an analysis of risks associated with various gambling products and player segments. It also presents observations on social and economic characteristics that impact prevalence and potential harms.

Regarding public demographics of gambling, the study estimates that approximately half (49.5%) of Spain’s population (47.5 million) engages in gambling, in which the study estimates that  ‘97% gamble in person’ and ‘6.6% via online platforms’.

The Spanish lotteries of Once and SELAE recorded the highest public engagement, with 81% of respondents stating that “they only play lotteries.”

Online gambling (excluding lotteries) predominantly attracts male players, with 73% of Spanish males participating, whereas 52% of Spanish female gamblers stated their play as “lotteries only”.

Across Spanish provinces, the highest penetration of online gambling was observed among male players aged 26-to-35 (23.7%) and 35-to-45 (23.2%).

The youngest demographic segment, those aged 18-to-25, mainly engage in online gambling services, reflecting broader shifts in digital consumer habits witnessed across other Spanish sectors. 

Providing a breakdown of “public engagements,” the study reports that sports betting (31%) and lotteries (27%) are the product segments with the highest weekly frequency, in which participants play more than twice a week.

On public protections, prevalence data suggests that gambling in Spain is “generally moderate and responsible”, with the majority of players spending less than one hour a week and less than €50 per month on gambling activities (retail or online). 

Spanish online gambling trade body, Jdigital, responded to the prevalence study’s findings: “We believe that the Ministry of Consumer Affairs boasts of regulating based on science. However, from our perspective, over the past four years, the Ministry has first regulated and then presented data to justify its legislation.”

Reflecting on the study’s headline finding that only 6.6% of Spanish gamblers play online, Jdigital questions the Ministry of Consumer Affairs’ “apparent demonisation of the online gambling sector.” 

In H1, the Spanish government approved the Ministry’s “Royal Decree on Responsible Gaming Environments”. This mandate will ensure that Spanish gambling adopts the strictest surveillance of gambling operators and market activities within Europe by 2024.

Jdigital questions why the Ministry continues to overlook its membership concerns about black market infringements targeting national consumers – “We are concerned about the limited awareness regarding the differences between legal and illegal gambling, as highlighted in the Online Player in Spain report by Jdigital in 2022. 

Furthermore, we are surprised that the report from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs presents such low illegal gambling data, especially considering the high number of websites that are shut down each year.”

Currently, the Spanish regulator DGOJ is undergoing a stakeholder consultation on the technicalities of how to implement the protections of the Ministry’s decree. This includes considerations regarding deposit limits, record-keeping, player registries, and enforcing in-play restrictions on high-risk games.

Check Also

Jdigital: Spanish reforms cannot move forward amid political deadlock

Supreme Court of Spain sides with Jdigital on Decree annulments

The Supreme Court of Spain has ‘partially annulled’ certain articles of the Royal Decree on …

SBC News Spain tightens scrutiny of tax returns on gambling winnings 

Spain tightens scrutiny of tax returns on gambling winnings 

Spanish consumers must declare profits from online gambling winnings in 2023 self-assessment income tax returns. …

SBC News Codere returns to bondholders to fund global recapitalisation programme

Codere returns to bondholders to fund global recapitalisation programme

The board of Grupo Codere SA states that it is in “advanced negotiations” with existing …