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Spain – New gambling awareness campaign causes outrage in private sector  

By - 17 November 2022

The Ministry of Consumption has launched a new public health campaign aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of gambling addiction.

According to the government the number of new online players under the age of 25 in Spain has grown exponentially in recent years, going from 28% in 2016 to 48% in 2021. Although the data does not mean that they have a problem, the number is a worrying trend according to the Ministry of Consumption, which has just launched the #PERO awareness campaign to warn of the risks of gambling.

The #PERO campaign highlights young people using phrases beginning with “but . . .” to provide excuses or justifications for their gambling related problems.  

During the presentation for the campaign, Minister Alberto Garzón warned of the “serious risks” that these games and bets entail. The minister stated that the responsibility for a person becoming addicted to gambling is not only down to the individual but also is the social and a public responsibility of “first order” because it is not the same “to live in a neighbourhood where the public authorities and civil society have worked to fill it with accessible and affordable cultural and sports options, than in one suffocated by the kidnapping of its public space with the streets full of halls and betting houses.”

The campaign and Garzón’s comments understandably has caused outrage amongst the private sector. A number of editorials have accused the minister of using public money to push state sponsored gambling while condemning the private sector.

In addition the state is expanding its monopoly. In September Spanish lottery company Sociedad Estatal Loterías y Apuestas del Estado (SELAE) extended the number of draws per week for its Bonoloto product.

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