Parliament approves the modification of the Gambling Law that reduces the ratio to 75 gaming halls per million inhabitants.

Mar 22, 2023 | Current affairs, Featured, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The new regulation increases to 500 metres the distance between gambling halls and educational and social-health centres, including nurseries, and establishes a minimum distance between premises of 500 m in Palma and 250 m in the rest of the municipalities.

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The modification of the Gambling Law

The Vice President and Minister for Energy Transition, Productive Sectors and Democratic Memory, Juan Pedro Yllanes, today defended in the Parliament of the Balearic Islands the Government’s proposal to amend Law 8/2014, on gambling and betting in the Balearic Islands, promoted by the Directorate General of Commerce and approved by the Governing Council last December.

The main objective of this Law is to protect the most vulnerable groups and offer maximum security and legal protection to citizens, as well as to address the need to plan the location of gambling halls and betting establishments, to prevent the negative externalities that the activity can cause, and to correct the dysfunctions produced by the disorderly growth of this type of establishments.

“Since the beginning of the legislature we have made a clear message as a Government: we did not want our islands to be a “low-cost Las Vegas” or the Macao of southern Europe”, stressed Vice President Yllanes, who also wanted to recall the efforts made in recent years to address the social concern about the oversupply of gambling establishments, the growth in the number of self-prohibited gamblers – in the Balearic Islands there are more than 2,400 families with at least one gambling establishment -, the increase in the number of gambling establishments in the Balearic Islands and the increase in the number of gambling establishments in the Balearic Islands. 400 families with at least one member who has self-prohibited access to gambling halls, or the increase in neighbourhood conflicts linked to the opening of new halls in vulnerable neighbourhoods or areas where minors are in transit.

New features of this regulation include

a cap on the current ratio of gambling halls and specific betting establishments in the Balearic Islands, which is limited to the national average of 75 per million registered inhabitants in the autonomous region (currently the Balearic Islands have 120 per million inhabitants);

the limitation of distances for new licences, which are extended to 500 metres from educational and socio-health centres, and establish a minimum distance between premises of 500 m in Palma and 250 m in the rest of the municipalities;

the regulation of signs and elements covering the façades of gambling establishments, which have to remove the most eye-catching elements;

the adaptation of warning and control messages on the screen of gambling machines, relating to age and responsibility towards gambling, among others.

In addition, and although it has not been included in the modification of the Law, the Govern has reached an agreement with the FELIB so that the opening hours of gambling establishments are regulated by municipal ordinance, so as not to encroach on the competencies already exercised by some town councils, and on the understanding that it makes no sense for adjacent municipalities to have different opening and closing hours for these establishments.

Finally, extensions to premises will be considered new licences, in order to comply with what has been a neighbourhood demand.

“From the entry into force of this modification of the Law, gambling in our community will only be able to decrease”, said vice-president Yllanes. “This modification of the Law is not just a specific question regarding a specific economic activity, but a reflection on what model of city and town we want, if we really want healthy leisure for our children and if, as a society, we are more interested in a few particular interests or the common good and the opinion of our fellow citizens”, concluded Yllanes.

The vice-president also wished to thank all the entities that have accompanied the Government in this process of re-planning the gaming sector in the Balearic Islands for the work they have done, some of which have attended today’s vote on the Law in Parliament: the Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU); the Federació d’Associacions de Veïnats de Palma; the Balearic Office for Childhood and Adolescence; the Associació de tractament a persones amb problemes de joc patològic (Juguesca); the Federació d’Associació d’Associacions de Mares i Pares d’Alumnes (FAPA); the European Institute for Prevention Studies (IREFREA); the Pla d’Addiccions i Drogodependències de les Illes Balears del IBSalut; the Defensora de la Ciudadanía de Marratxí; Projecte Home and UNICEF, among others.