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Madrid Reports 60% Reduction in Betting Shops Since 2019 – Olive Press News Spain


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Spain might be known for its cultural heritage and vibrant nightlife, especially in Madrid, but its gambling industry is also a significant contributor to the economy. The legal gambling industry in Madrid has undergone several changes since 2008, when the licensing of betting houses started. In 2019, the government came up with ideas to reform Madrid’s gaming industry and weed out unlicensed operators. The plan included stricter regulations and public awareness campaigns, among other things. The government introduced a new licensing system, which required betting shops to meet stricter conditions in order to operate.  

The government’s directive to balance industry growth with social responsibility led to a drop in the number of betting shops in Madrid from 160 in 2019 to just 64 as of May 2024. This reduction is evidence of the effectiveness of the region’s strict regulations and enforcement measures, although it limits betting options for residents and visitors in Spain.

The effects of the strict regulations and monitoring of betting shops came as a huge blow to those who love traditional gambling and those who saw visiting these betting shops as a chance to socialize with peers. However, for those who can no longer visit their local betting shops, online options are growing in popularity since they usually offer instant payouts and other benefits, such as a wider choice of betting markets and casino games. When reviewing these online platforms, Bram Welch stresses the importance of checking if they charge withdrawal fees, their maximum withdrawal limits, and the complexity of the withdrawal process.

The reduction in betting shops is seen as a major success story for Madrid, with authorities praising it as an important step towards creating a safer and healthier environment for the local people. However, with fewer betting shops, gamblers may be faced with the disadvantage of fewer gambling options and may need to travel further than necessary. This might lead to some people turning to online casinos or reducing their gambling activities.

According to Carlos Novillo, Minister of Environment, Interior, and Agriculture, the drop in betting shops shows clearly the government’s commitment to regulate the gambling industry and promote responsible gaming practices. The news about the significant reduction of betting shops in Madrid has been welcomed by anti-gambling groups and individuals, who have long campaigned for stricter regulations. Maria Rodriguez, the spokesperson for the anti-gambling organization Juego Responsable, hopes that other regions will follow Madrid’s lead and take decisive action to regulate the gambling industry.

Despite the drop in the number of betting shops in Madrid, the gambling industry continues to be a big contributor to the country’s economy. There was a 23.6% increase in revenue from €240.8 million that was recorded in 2022 to €304.2 million in 2023. These funds are collected mainly from casinos, which raked in a total revenue of €160.3 million. This amount is 25.3% higher than that recorded in 2022. When analyzing these figures, it is clear that gambling activities have a positive effect on the country’s economy. 

The gambling history of Spain dates back to around the 16th century when casinos were nothing more than cultural clubs where people could socialize while playing games like pool. The cultural clubs progressed to literary salons, which were attended strictly by invitation as they were held at people’s homes. The salons were more like social gatherings where people could have discussions on various topics, including art and literature, and gambling was not the main agenda. These clubs were the inspiration behind the first casinos in the country. Madrid, being the capital, also jumped in early on the casino trend and founded the Casino of Madrid on Calle Alcalá.

During that time, the increased number of betting shops or casinos was probably because of the government’s initiative to increase the number of tourists visiting the country by using gambling as a draw. This strategy bore positive results, which led to the opening of more betting shops and the legalization of gambling. Barcelona and Madrid had the most gambling traffic in the country and were the major reason that Spain became known as one of the most prosperous betting places in Europe, and many companies saw this as an opportunity to expand their businesses. 

Spain is divided into 17 autonomous regions, which were given the authority under the law to control activities that take place inside their own borders, like gambling. Since the regulation of gambling has been entrusted to those autonomous regions, the government of each region has the authority to control gambling-related issues that arise within their borders. However, the regulation of online gambling is done at the national level because it is available across many regional territories. Land-based gambling activities are the ones that are governed by regional and local laws. However, these laws differ from one autonomous region to the next. 

The government of Madrid has proved that decisive action and strict regulations can yield positive results, depending on your objectives. The regions that also want to achieve the same results can follow suit since Madrid has proven that such goals are achievable. 

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