Gambling in Spain: update on experience, research and policy

Addiction. 2014 Oct;109(10):1595-601. doi: 10.1111/add.12232. Epub 2013 May 29.


Aims: To describe the current situation of gambling in Spain, sketching its history and discussing the regulations and legislation currently in force within the framework of the European Union (EU), and to review the epidemiology of gambling in Spain, the self-help groups and professional treatments available, and their potential effectiveness.

Methods: A systematic computerized search was performed in three databases (EMBASE, PubMed and PsychINFO, including articles and chapters) and the reference lists from previous reviews to obtain some of the most relevant studies published up to now on the topic of pathologic gambling in Spain.

Results: Similar to other EU countries, Spain has a high prevalence of pathologic gambling, focused on specific culturally bounded types of gambling. Expenditure in online gaming has risen significantly in the last few years, prompting the Spanish government to draft new legislation to regulate gaming.

Conclusions: The gaming industry is expected to be one of the fastest growing sectors in Spain in the coming years owing to the rise of new technologies and the development of online gaming.

Keywords: Behavioral addictions; Spain; pathologic gambling; policy; prevalence; treatment.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • European Union
  • Gambling* / economics
  • Gambling* / epidemiology
  • Gambling* / history
  • Gambling* / therapy
  • History, 15th Century
  • History, 16th Century
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • History, Ancient
  • History, Medieval
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Prevalence
  • Recreation
  • Self-Help Groups
  • Spain / epidemiology