Spain’s Balearic Islands Make Sweeping Changes to Its Gambling Market

The various autonomous communities of Spain continue to revamp their gambling laws amid a growth spurt over the past couple of years. The Balearic Islands recently made some changes, but are adding some new restrictions as a new year approaches.

Port of Ibiza
Port of Ibiza
Spain’s Port of Ibiza on the island of Ibiza at dusk. The island and the rest of the Balearic Islands to which it belongs are going to have to pump the brakes on their gambling activity per new legislation. (Image: Pinterest)

The Government Council has approved a bill that modifies the Gambling and Betting Law of the Balearic Islands. The main objective, according to a government statement, is to protect the most vulnerable groups and offer maximum security and legal protection to citizens, as well as address the need to plan the location of gambling halls and specific betting venues.

The Balearic Islands, has a ratio of 108 gaming establishments for every million inhabitants, making it the third autonomous region with the highest supply density. This is also 40% higher than the average for Spain as a whole, and the local government feels it’s time to cut back.

Time To Pump The Brakes

This legal reform incorporates provisions aimed at limiting the granting of new authorizations for gaming and betting establishments in the Balearic Islands, home to the popular tourist islands of Ibiza, Mallorca and others.

In recent years, there has been an increased push on the part of residents in the region for government intervention. The proliferation of gaming and betting establishments, as well as online gambling, hasn’t been well-received.

To respond to the criticism, the government will stop granting authorizations for new gaming establishments. This covers casinos, bingo parlors, pay-money gaming arcades, sportsbooks and sports betting areas inside other gaming facilities.

The Balearic Islands government is also making the changes to respond to a heightened sensitivity toward problem gambling. Despite Spain having one of the safest gaming markets, according to multiple studies, gambling addiction continues at the forefront of all discussions pertaining to the gaming industry.

The number of gambling halls and authorized betting facilities in the community has experienced notable growth in recent years. There has been a high concentration in certain areas of the islands, despite the distance limitation between these types of establishments, as the law demands.

In response to the recommendation of state authorities, the number of gambling halls and betting venues must be controlled. It cannot exceed the average number per inhabitant of Spain as a whole.

The Spanish Journal of Public Health, a part of the country’s Ministry of Health, established the figure in 2020 at 68 per million inhabitants. The Balearic Islands will review the average and number of establishments annually.

Likewise, this reform widens the distances between gaming and betting rooms and certain education and recreation centers for minors. This is in keeping with reforms other jurisdictions are establishing, as well.

Advertising Takes A Hit

At the same time the government is cutting back on the physical presence of gambling, it’s also targeting advertising and promotional activities. It will no longer allow any advertising or marketing for gambling or betting operations throughout the Balearic Islands.

In accordance with the ideology of offering a safer gaming environment, the government believes a ban on advertising is necessary. It argues that, because it’s impossible to control who sees the content, it could entice minors to gamble.

In addition, the new law establishes an electronic age control for the use of Type B slot machines found in bars and restaurants. This control is in place for gambling and betting establishments currently, but this hasn’t been the case for their use in other locations.

The government didn’t specify in the update how it plans on enforcing the change – it could require the establishment to verify someone’s age implement an ID verification system. This isn’t a novel concept, as it is a system already in use in other parts of the world and which is also found in certain parts of Spain.

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