In 2020, authorities in Madrid rolled out a program in a number of districts of Spain’s capital city as part of their efforts to raise local youth’s awareness of gambling, gambling addiction, and gambling-related harm. The pilot scheme proved to be a bigger success than initially expected, so now local officials intend to expand the program so that it covers more districts of the city.
“La Contrapartida” (Counterpart) program was created by Madrid city leaders a couple of years ago in an attempt to address increasing gambling participation rates among local adolescent residents and tackle the constantly rising number of gambling disorders among young people there. At the time, the scheme was extended to 4 Madrid districts – Carabanchel, Latina, Tetuán, and Carabanchel – in order to see whether the program was viable at all.
The Counterpart scheme, however, has been much more successful than originally anticipated, so the city officials are set to expand the program in order to cover 8 more districts in Madrid, including Centro, Ciudad Lineal, Moratalaz, Puente de Vallecas, San Blas-Canillejas, Vicálvaro, Villa de Vallecas, and Villaverde. If the expanded reach of the scheme turns out successful again, the coverage of “La Contrapartida” will be expanded to the entire city, and at a later stage, it might be unveiled to the entire country.
Spain Is among European Countries with Lowest Problem Gambling Rates
Currently, Spain is among the European countries featuring the lowest gambling addiction rates. Reportedly, the problem gambling rate there is under 1%, and the Spanish Government is willing to keep it that way.
Inmaculada Sanz, a Security and Emergencies of the City Council’s delegate and a spokesperson for the city of Madrid, has shared that the Governing Board has approved a 2-year contract aimed at keeping “La Contrapartida” going. The scheme has been unveiled to complement the bigger Madrid authorities’ Strategy for Attention and Prevention of Gambling Addiction (SAPGA) and the local government is set to be granted it €1.2 million worth of funding.
The SAPGA has been unveiled as part of a bigger program, called the Municipal Strategy for the Care and Prevention of Gambling Addiction. It establishes interaction and cooperation between the different areas of activity of the municipality in order to tackle the risks of developing a gambling disorder. The program also offers counseling and professional care to people who suffer from gambling addiction and gambling-related harm.
The program is primarily focused on raising the awareness of local citizens about the risks associated with gambling. On the other hand, it is aimed at modifying the social stigma that is usually linked to gambling activity and supporting initiatives that are trying to delay the age of gambling participation among young people.
According to Ms. Sanz, the program had been an excellent proposal aimed at intervening with gambling disorders and preventing the spread of gambling-related harm to people who need it, and more specifically, to younger people who are considered more susceptible to gambling-related harm. “La Contrapartida” also turned out successful during the national lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, with the Covid-19 crisis also serving as a tool for SAPGA’s integration into social media.