Measures to stop gaming and betting venues opening in the city

Pathological gaming and betting represent a growing problem in cities, affecting vulnerable groups most of all. In a bid to halt this rise, the City Council’s Government Commission has given its initial approval for a usage plan to regulate the presence of gaming and betting venues in the city.

17/12/2020 16:06 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

The opening of new betting premises, gaming venues, bingo halls and casinos was suspended in the city in 2019 to enable the design of the regulations which have now been set out. The regulations detail the conditions to be met by any party interested in opening a new establishment of this type.

In order to open, these types of establishments must be well away from facilities with protected uses. The regulations specify a minimum distance of 800 metres from any type of education centre and 450 metres from other facilities such as libraries, social services centres, community centres, neighbourhood youth centres, centres belonging to the Catalan Employment Service and medical centres.

Protecting people from a growing problem

These criteria respond to the need to protect the most vulnerable groups from potentially developing a gaming habit or pathology. These groups include minors and young people under the age of 21, people with mental health problems or additions, and those at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

Pathological gaming is a growing problem at a national level. The data from the EDADES survey on alcohol and drug use in Spain, conducted by the Ministry of Health, show that 6.7% of the population between the ages of 15 and 64 bet money online in the last year and 63.6% did so in person. At a national level, an estimated 670,000 people have developed a potential gaming problem or disorder.

If we look at the age group of youngsters between the ages of 14 and 18, the EDADES survey shows that 14.6% of the population have bet online and that 37.2% have done so in person in the last year.

A plan to combat pathological gaming

The plan for the prevention of pathological gaming started being implemented in October 2019 and includes measures focusing on preventive health, such as limits on publicity in municipal spaces, prevention projects in schools and specific projects on screen addiction at the Drug-dependency Care and Support Centre (CAS) in Horta.

There are currently 51 establishments of this type in Barcelona: 35 amusement arcades, 15 bingo halls and one casino. The number of bingo halls has been cut by two in the last year.

 

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