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Spain – Canary Islands suspends opening of new gaming establishments

By - 11 March 2020

The Government of the Canary Islands has suspended the opening of new gaming and gambling premises, with the intention of safeguarding minors and other groups in need of special protection, as reported by the Ministry of Public Administration, Justice and Security.

During the next 18 months, the government will prohibit the installation, opening and operation of any new gambling establishments including extensions to already existing locations and bingo halls while the modification of the Gambling and Betting Law and the new decree of Game Planning and Betting in the Canary Islands is under way.

The objective of the suspension is to prevent access to minors and to those who have self excluded from access to gambling facilities as well as those who have been compelled by local courts not to gamble.

Similar measures have already been adopted in other autonomous communities, such as the Balearic Islands, the Valencian Community, Castilla La Mancha, Asturias, Navarra and Murcia, in addition to the approval by the Community of Madrid of a recent decree, which has suspended the authorisations by a period of 18 months. In addition in January the government of the Balearic Islands approved the suspension of the granting of any new authorisations for the opening of gambling halls for two years. The two year period will give the government time to decide on new rules when it comes to where any new facilities can be built and the future of the industry in general.
In December deputies agreed to request the cessation of new licenses for gaming venues until there is a new regulation in the Canary Islands which will include increased taxes, as well as the creation of a panel of experts which will advance the reform of a new regulatory framework.

Carmen Hernández, who promoted the initiative, described the growing social concern caused by the expansion of gambling amongst the young and more vulnerable sectors of society. “In the gaming and betting rooms of the Canary Islands €43.6 million were spent in 2017 and €73 million in 2018, that is to say that there was an increase of 70 per cent. In addition, in the Canary territory there are 37 open premises, which gives an idea of the proliferation of these businesses, “Hernández said and included the prohibition of such premises near schools, more control when it came to underage gambling and restrictions on advertising as part of the new proposals.

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