Spain Found to Have Europe’s Highest Proportion of Teenage Gamblers

  • 300% increase in Madrid gambling houses since 2013
  • Spanish government calling for ban on gambling advertisements
  • Sports betting and poker popular among youngsters
Illustration of the Spanish flag waving.
The Spanish government has called for gambling advertisements to be banned after a new study revealed one in five teenagers are addicted to gambling. [Image: Shutterstock]

Results from a new study

A new study has revealed that one in five Spanish teenagers are addicted to gambling.

According to the Federation of Rehabilitated Gamblers and Madrid’s Association of Psychologists, Spain currently has the highest rate of teen addiction in Europe.

The study considered the attitudes toward gambling of people aged between 14 and 21 years old.

Madrid gambling houses up 300%

In Madrid alone, another 40 gambling houses have opened their doors since 2013, an increase of 300%.

The Federation of Rehabilitated Gamblers and Madrid’s Association of Psychologists are now calling for stricter regulations on advertisements to stop betting houses becoming ‘normalised’ among young people.

40 gambling houses have opened their doors since 2013

According to the regional government in Madrid, the rise of gambling addiction has led them to consider measures over how close a betting establishment can be to a school. They are proposing a 100-meter ring around all education establishments where licenses for gambling houses would be prohibited.

Critics say that this is not enough and that even if ID regulations were stricter, youngsters would still find a way, potentially on the internet.

Both sports betting and online poker were found to be key interests for the age group, despite the fact that their parents are more likely to bet on the lottery.

Only 1% of adults gamble regularly

According to the June publication of Gambling and Society 2019, around 4% of the adult population were found to have gambled in 2018. Although the report also stated that only 1% of adults gamble with any real frequency.

The report was released by CEJUEGO, the industry association representing Spain’s private gambling operators, and the Institute of Policy and Governance of the Carlos III University of Madrid.

The Spanish government has also caused alarm in announcing that it wants to ban gambling advertisements, similar to the blanket ban imposed in Italy. Spain has already banned tobacco and alcohol ads on TV.

However, there is currently no restriction regarding what time of day gambling can be advertised, or which celebrities can endorse it. Tomás Calamardo is a Madrid policeman who holds workshops in the district of Coslada about the dangers of gambling.

He said: “They show these ads during the morning children’s slot and at all times of day. And if you have a famous person they admire like Cristiano Ronaldo on the ad the impact is even greater.”