Spain: Authorities approve the first Strategic Plan on Responsible Gaming

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The Spanish Gaming Authorities, in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Responsible Gaming (CAJR), have approved the so called Spanish strategy on responsible gaming. A Spanish version of this document is available here.

The CAJR, established on February 2013, is the main body in charge of assisting the Spanish Gaming Authorities on the protection of gamblers and for the definition of responsible gaming policies. In particular, this body has been working on the development of this strategy, aimed to set up the main guidelines and tools for the consolidation of responsible gaming policies in Spain. The CAJR is composed by representatives of gaming operators (online and off line), representatives of associations for the protection of problem gamblers, representatives of social and academic entities, and representatives of national and regional Spanish Authorities.

By means of this document, the Spanish Gaming Authorities and the CAJR have established a strategy aimed at sensitizing the public opinion as well as to set up those means to prevent and deal with problems derived from problem gambling activities. This strategy intends to be a tool to be developed by private associations, general community, gaming industry and Spanish Authorities for the prevention and awareness of addictive gaming.

After having analyzed the situation in Spain, the gaming authorities have concluded that there are not enough data to identify the actual impact of gaming problems in Spain. In this sense, and taking into account that the main objective of this strategy is to ensure a high level of protection for problem players and risk groups, it has been concluded that the main objective should be the development of an analysis that would help to properly implement an responsible gaming strategy.

Next actions to be developed under this strategy are (i) the sensitization of the community, (ii) the prevention of gaming risks, and (iii) providing support to pathological gamblers. These actions (to be developed by the Spanish Authorities, with the cooperation of the CAJR) are split on two groups:

• Immediate actions:

o To draft an analysis report in order to determine and identify the main gaming problems, the risk factors and those factors that could increase the addiction to the games.
o The establishment of a website to support and orientate problem gamblers seeking assistance.
o The establishment of a permanent telephone line in order to provide assistance and guidance to problem gamblers.

• Medium term actions: this strategy also contains some future actions that will be subject to consideration and approval of the CAJR, and require the collaboration of the Spanish Authorities, the gaming industry, gaming associations and the CAJR itself. Those measures could be summarized as follows:

Objective 1: Sensitize the public opinion on gaming risks.
a.   Launching a general awareness campaign.
b.   Drafting, producing and distributing awareness material.
c.   Promotion for the use of the abovementioned materials by parents and educators.
d.   Development of specific activities for high risk population.

Objective 2: Promotion of responsible gaming.
a.   To provide self-exclusion options to players with gaming problems.
b.   To implement elements of responsible gaming on websites and gaming terminals.
c.   To improve the knowledge of responsible gaming tools among the staff of gaming operators.
d.   To develop a Code of Good Practice by operators.

Objective 3: Provide assistance to the treatment of gaming problems.
a.   To increase, facilitate and improve the access to assessment on gambling problems and social services dealing with it.
b.   To provide treatment and assessment to players with gaming problems.
c.   To improve the training and knowledge of those professionals specialized on the treatment of gaming problems.

In order to define and execute this responsible gaming strategy, the following measures have been proposed:

(i) the establishment of a set of concrete guidelines for the execution of the Responsible Gaming strategy as described above; and

(ii) the creation of financial mechanisms for the management of the economic contributions from the gaming sector for the financing of the activities of the responsible gaming strategy.

All these measures, once defined in detail, will be implemented in Spain during the next months.