Spain views gambling addiction as a “mental disorder”

Spain views gambling addiction a "mental disorder"

Spain views gambling addiction a "mental disorder"Spain has a fairly robust gambling infrastructure, with everything from slot machines in bars, multiple casinos and heavy sports betting operations. It also reportedly has one of the lowest problem gambling segments among European Union (EU) countries that have legalized industries, and the country wants to make sure it stays that way. Going forward, gambling addiction will be considered a mental disorder.

The designation was given two days ago by Spain’s gambling regulator, the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ). In approving the label, problem gamblers can now more easily seek treatment in ways similar to those provided for other mental disorders. The DGOJ’s acknowledgement follows that of the Responsible gaming Advisory Council (CAJR, for its Spanish acronym), and will greatly bolster efforts in the country to curb out-of-control spending on gambling.

Both the DGOJ and the CAJR are confident that the measure will help suppress gambling addiction before it becomes a real issue. They both will now put their heads together to formulate guidelines and indicators that can be used by medical experts to identify, and possibly treat, problem gambling.

Across all of the EU, and in other regions, as well, gambling has become one of the most talked-about subjects. The countries in the Union have differing opinions about how the activity should be managed and controlled, but there is a common theme across the region to help ensure that gambling addiction is reduced.

In Italy, all forms of gambling advertisement were banned last year. In the U.K., ads are strictly controlled and the types of gambling allowed have been locked down. In Spain, talk is brewing about restricting ads, with some individuals pushing for a complete ban similar to that seen in Italy. However, that most likely won’t happen, at least not in the immediate future.

What is happening, though, is the creation of a registration service that would list all problematic gamblers to prevent them from placing wagers. In the event someone with an addiction were to try to gamble, the system is designed to notify the business in order to allow it to step in. Additionally, a system to verify ages and identities will be enhanced so that anti-money-laundering laws can be followed more tightly, and to prevent minors from being able to place wagers online.

Those changes mirror ones seen in the U.K., although Spain’s northern neighbor seems intent on taking gambling oversight over the top. However, it doesn’t appear that the U.K. will be backing down on its policies anytime soon, even though it is losing money and jobs, and sending gamblers offshore. The chief executive for the U.K. Gambling Commission, Neil McArthur, explains regarding the country’s new controls, “These changes will protect children and the vulnerable from gambling-related harm, and reduce the risk of crime linked to gambling.”