Licences for new gambling premises suspended in a bid to combat addictions

A new usage plan is to regulate the opening of gambling arcades, tackling health and addiction problems generated by such activity. The measure proposes cutting the number of arcades and moving them further away from schools and healthcare centres. It also includes suspending the issue of new licences.

22/10/2019 14:05 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

The Government Commission will now start drafting the new regulation, which will affect all types of premises devoted to games of chance. There are currently 53 venues of this type in the city: 35 gambling arcades, 17 bingo halls and one casino.

The goal of the measure is to tackle addictions to pathological gaming, screens and networks, which have a negative effect on people’s health and social relations.

Greater prevention against online gambling

Besides the suspension of licences and the drafting of the new regulation, other measures have been taken to limit the proliferation of online betting and internet gambling:

  • Blocking access to online gambling websites from municipal premises.
  • Calling for entities and companies applying for public contracts and subsidies to adopt measures to combat addictions.
  • Improving the analysis of the impact of gambling on health.
  • Creating prevention programmes.
  • Banning advertising on the metropolitan transport network in Barcelona and in the streets.
  • Calling on administrations with powers in this sphere to limit gambling advertising.

Health issue

Pathological gambling is a health problem which is recognised by the World Health Organisation as potentially leading to other psychopathologies such as depression and anxiety, increasing the risk of drug consumption and of suffering personal and family money problems.

In 2017, some 0.4% of the population between the ages of 15 and 64 developed gambling problems. That’s 20,000 people in Catalonia. On top of that, the number of registered online gamblers rose from 637,000 in 2013 to 1.47 million in 2018. This type of gambling is more common among young people, who are at greater risk of developing a disorder.

Displaying four or more of these symptoms may represent a possible gambling disorder:

  • The need to bet larger and larger sums of money.
  • Anxiety and irritability when giving up gambling.
  • Failed attempts to give up.
  • Overly preoccupied by gambling.
  • Use of gaming as a means of escaping problems.
  • Repeated attempts to win back lost money.
  • Covering up the level of gambling.
  • Personal relationships at risk.
  • Asking third parties for money.


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