“That’s No Country for ‘Young’ Men”: A Critical Perspective on Responsible Online Gambling Policies for Gambling Disorder Prevention in Spanish Minors

Authors

  • Mariano Chóliz Gambling and Technological Addictions Research Unit, School of Psychology, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain
  • Marta Marcos Gambling and Technological Addictions Research Unit, School of Psychology, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4309/jgi.2022.49.7

Keywords:

ethical gambling, responsible gambling, online gambling, prevention, gambling policies, youth gambling, Spain

Abstract

Recently, some governments and other stakeholders in countries where online gambling has been legalized have implemented responsible gambling policies. From the theoretical and empirical evidence in this study, we show that these responsible gambling policies are insufficient to prevent the emergence of pathological gambling disorder in society, especially among adolescents. Since online gambling was legalized in Spain in June 2012, online gambling companies have been required by law to implement responsible gambling policies. The implemented policies largely consist of informing customers of the dangers of gambling and how to minimize harm by engaging in behaviour that prevents addiction. However, online gambling addiction has increased exponentially; at present, it is the second most common form of pathological gambling in Spain and the most common form among young children and adolescents (Chóliz, 2016). In our study involving 6,053 underage adolescents, the results showed that more than half of them had gambled and that the prevalence rate of pathological gambling was triple that of the general population. Our main conclusions are that online gambling especially affects male minors, some of whom have developed gambling disorders since the legalization (and broad promotion) of online gambling in Spain. Responsible gambling policies implemented by the conservative government of Spain (2011–2018) and by gambling companies were insufficient to prevent such disorders from becoming an epidemic among Spanish adolescents.

Author Biography

Mariano Chóliz, Gambling and Technological Addictions Research Unit, School of Psychology, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain

Recently, some governments and other stakeholders in countries where online gambling has been legalized have implemented responsible gambling policies. From the theoretical and empirical evidence in this study, we show that these responsible gambling policies are insufficient to prevent the emergence of pathological gambling disorder in society, especially among adolescents. Since online gambling was legalized in Spain in June 2012, online gambling companies have been required by law to implement responsible gambling policies. The implemented policies largely consist of informing customers of the dangers of gambling and how to minimize harm by engaging in behaviour that prevents addiction. However, online gambling addiction has increased exponentially; at present, it is the second most common form of pathological gambling in Spain and the most common form among young children and adolescents (Chóliz, 2016). In our study involving 6,053 underage adolescents, the results showed that more than half of them had gambled and that the prevalence rate of pathological gambling was triple that of the general population. Our main conclusions are that online gambling especially affects male minors, some of whom have developed gambling disorders since the legalization (and broad promotion) of online gambling in Spain. Responsible gambling policies implemented by the conservative government of Spain (2011–2018) and by gambling companies were insufficient to prevent such disorders from becoming an epidemic among Spanish adolescents.

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Published

2022-01-27

Issue

Section

Original Article