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Spain – President of Madrid suspends the opening of any new gambling venues

By - 20 November 2019

The Governing Council of Madrid has agreed on the urgent passing of the decree that will temporarily suspend the opening of any more gambling venues.

During a press conference the President of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso announced the temporary suspension of the granting of licenses to bookmakers and gambling halls. The government has temporarily suspended licenses to bookmakers and gambling venues, until the drafting and approval of a new planning decree is approved. Ayuso announced that the measure comes after detecting a “public health problem” due to the proliferation of gambling venues, of which “there are 678 in Madrid, a much higher average than in the country.”

The number of sports betting shops has increased by 125 per cent since 2014 according to Ayuso who emphasised that the decree did not mean an outright ban on gambling: “We believe it would be good to study license concessions, which does not mean banning them, nor stopping them, but studying their proliferation.”

In recent months, the regional government has taken the first steps in launching a prevention and research centre for gambling. It has also undertaken a number of new studies into addictions in adolescents and children and included training in schools aimed at students, teachers and families to try and combat gambling addiction. In addition, the government is developing new regulations that will seek to toughen penalties for underage gambling and is developing restrictions whereby gambling will no longer be endorsed by celebrities.

There is a growing anti sports betting sentiment in Spain especially in Madrid. A number of local governments are seeking to restrict the number of licences to sports betting shops while calls for advertising restrictions are increasing on a national level. Last month Barcelona became the first Spanish city to prohibit the opening of gambling venues in order to curb gambling addiction. The announcement was made by the second mayor deputy Janet Sanz, on the same day the measure was published in the Official Gazette of the Province of Barcelona and entered into force. The ban will last a year during which time the City Council will write up a new plan of action when it comes to regulating the industry.

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