In a statement sent to the municipal government of Catalonia, Barcelona’s City Council has revealed its decision to suspend the opening of any new gambling establishments, including casino, sports betting, arcade and bingo halls. The measure has been unveiled as part of the City Council’s efforts to tackle gambling addiction in order to protect the physical and mental health of the people of Barcelona.
As said in the statement, the City Council insists that local gambling establishments must be “put in order” at a time when the health networks in Barcelona are dealing with rising problem gambling rates. Barcelona’s executive has stated that it is willing to improve the protection of vulnerable people by helping the measures unveiled by Catalonia’s new Department for Ageing, Health Care and Social Mobility.
For the time being, there are 53 gambling venues in Barcelona. A total of 35 of them are arcade halls, and there are also 17 bingo establishments across the city. Grup Peralada-operated Casino Barcelona complex is also available.
According to the City Council statement, the authority has provided a draft of its “Urban Plan” in which increased monitoring for gambling establishments and their operations is set. As part of the gambling addiction prevention measures which have been unveiled by the Barcelona City Council, a new educational program is to be established.
The efforts of the Catalonia municipal government to tackle spreading problem gambling do not end here. Another measure which Barcelona City Council plans to unveil is a ban on gambling advertising to stop spreading popularization of casinos, bingo halls and other gambling services in the vehicles and facilities of Metropolitan Transport of Barcelona. In addition, access to online gambling sites from public computers within the municipality (including the ones in civic centers or libraries) would be blocked.
City Council Aims at Reducing the Number of Gambling Establishments in Barcelona
Gemma Tarafa, who heads the Department of Health, has highlighted the fact that the youngest members of society have been among the ones who are most affected by problem gambling. According to recent reports, gambling addiction to both retail and online gambling services has increased over the past few years. As explained by Ms. Tarafa, gambling addiction usually affects people who do not have much money. Problem gambling rates are also boosted by the presence of a bookmaker’s shop near vulnerable individuals’ homes.
The ban which Barcelona’s City Council has imposed on gambling establishments came into force on October 22nd. The restrictions will also affect gambling businesses that want to expand their current offerings. As the local City Council is aimed at reducing the number of gambling establishments in the Spanish capital city, the new measures will make sure that once a gambling facility is closed, new ones sharing the same characteristics would not be opened. Also, gambling venues are set to be kept away from sites in close proximity to places such as schools and hospitals, where more vulnerable people are usually set.
Recent reports have shown that about 0.4% of Catalonia’s population aged between 15 and 64 (or about 20,000 people) suffer from some kind of gambling addiction. Young men are the ones who are usually most affected by compulsive gambling.
As revealed by the authorities, the entire area of Barcelona, where there is no such regulation currently, is set to be protected from excessive gambling provision businesses as part of the City Council’s efforts to protect local people’s health.