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Valencia passes new gambling law

In the fight against gambling addiction and gambling problems The city of Valencia in Spain passed a new gambling law. This was officially passed by the Parliament of the Valencian Community a few days ago and apparently increases the pressure on arcade operators, bookmakers and bar owners. According to the industry, numerous new guidelines would ensure that the majority of those involved were heading towards existential problems.

Platz an einer Kathedrale in der Stadt Valencia.

A new gambling law was passed in Valencia, Spain, which, according to catering operators, could cause countless existential problems.(©AndreaCastello/Pixabay)

Tough new measures for bar and arcade operators

Restaurant owners , arcade operators, bookmakers, bar managers and all other companies in which gambling machines are set up have to adapt to changes in Valencia. TheParliament of the Valencian Community recently passed a new gambling law, which also includes new measures for the industry. Despite protests from the industry, the new law was passed in parliament. According to the Spanish daily newspaperEl Diario. Accordingly, 52 members of Parliament would have spoken out in favor of the reform. 37 members would have opposed it, ten members would have abstained.

The changes coming to the industry related to the new gambling law are enormous. For example, this provides for aminimum linear distance of 850 meters between venues and educational institutions such as schools. This is to ensure that young people are not tempted by the games on offer.

New requirements increase pressure on the industry

The new law also stipulates another minimum distance requirement for the distance between two arcades. According to this, thevenues would have to keep a distance of at least 500 meters between each other as the crow flies. The reform also stipulates that players will in future be checked for a possible listing in the blocking file (Registro General de Interdicciones de Acceso al Juego - RGIAJ). Whenever customers want to enter a gambling hall or a betting shop, it must now be checked whether they can be found in the blocking file. The reform also provides for an age check when entering the arcades and betting shops. However, bar and restaurant owners are also affected by the new reform.

Thescreens of slot machines in bars and restaurants must be switched off in the future, for example when the machines are not being used. This is to protect players from being encouraged to play by the flashing lights and sounds of the machines. If a guest wants to play on one of the devices, the operator or employee must activate it by remote control.

Associations fear closures and unemployment

Already before and during the vote, the new gambling law drew criticism from the industry. Parliament said the new rules put the industry on the best path to combat rising gambling addiction in the region. The gambling providers and operators see things a little differently. Thus, the Arcade Workers' Union stated thatMore than 400 arcades could be threatened by the law from closing. This in turn could lead to more than 2,500 employees losing their jobs. The association was also approved by the interest group of Spanish gambling providers "CeJuego". He announced that the country was currently in a deep social and economic crisis. The law would not alleviate this now, but would lead to even more poverty and even greater unemployment.

Even during the deliberations and votes in Parliament there were protests on the streets of Valencia. The protesters, who mainly came from the gambling industry, held baguettes in their hands. The motto of the demonstration: "No gambling with our bread". Theorganization "SOS Hostelería" was responsible for organizing the protest. This was only founded in February and is committed to the interests of the hospitality industry. Also present at the protests was Fidel Molina, who is active as chairman of the Spanish vending machine distributor Comatel. As Molina explained, they want to go to extremes to defend the restaurants and bars in Valencia. Molina fears that this is necessary because around 10,000 hospitality businesses would have to stop working due to the distance regulations.

Hard times for the Spanish gambling industry

The next few months and probably years will have to show how badly the hotel and gambling industry will ultimately be affected by the new law. What is certain, however, is that the Spanish gambling industry is currently in an unfavorable position.The "Valencia model" could also be popular in other cities and then possibly be implemented there as well. In the past, it has often been the case that one region served as a model for the measures taken by the entire country. Should this also apply here, the gambling industry is threatened with enormous losses. In addition, the industry is currently not only struggling with the new legal measures, but also with the corona virus.

Spain is one of the most affected countries in Europe. In addition to health risks, the virus also entails economic risks. Half of the season has already been canceled in the holiday region of Mallorca, and companies on the island are threatened with a fiasco. A similar picture emerges in other holiday regions. This not only affects the hotels, but also the hospitality industry in the area. Bars have been closed and may only allow a certain number of guests after reopening. Minimum distances must also be observed everywhere. The pressure on the industry is currently massive - and the new law is unlikely to provide any relief for the time being.

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The article was published on June 5th, 2020 in the Fraustest.com magazine under the keywords, ,,, published.
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