Survey suggests Spain’s problem gambling rate is joint-lowest in Europe

A new survey has found that Spain had the joint-lowest rate of problem gambling in Europe in 2020, while online play did not increase significantly despite a large drop in land-based gambling. 

The report found that 0.25% of people in Spain were classed as problem gamblers by the problem gambling severity index (PGSI).

This, the research said, meant Spain was tied with Denmark for the lowest rate in Europe.

According to the report, the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic led to a major decline in land-based gaming in 2020, with the total number of players playing at casinos, bingo halls, gaming lounges, retail betting shops or gaming machines dropping 50% to 3.8 million – around 11.0% of adults.

However, despite the decline in land-based gaming, the report found that there was not a similar increase in online gambling. The number of people playing online remained stable at 1.5 million.

The survey also found that the vast majority of Spanish adults – at 80.9% had taken part in some form of gambling, though this was down 4% from the peak reached in 2013.

Trade group Cejuego said that this showed that gambling was a “normal” activity for most Spanish adults.

The report also found that the most popular reasons for gambling were for entertainment or for social interactions.

Lottery games were the most popular type of gambling, with the popular Gordo Christmas lottery being played by 70.8% of the adult population, or around 24.5 million people. The El Niño and La Primitiva lotteries were the next-most popular games, followed by ONCE scratchards.

The report noted that scratchards were particularly popular among younger players, with the majority of players being under 35, though the portion of adults playing dropped from 9.9% to 9.4%.

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