25 March 2004
CORDOBA – Spain’s first centre to help gambling addicts is to open, it was announced Thursday.
In a country in which gambling is a national sport, this is the first such centre of its kind and will be in Cordoba.
The amount which Spaniards spend on gambling each year is not clear, but it generates EUR 300 million in taxes for the regional government in Andalusia alone each year.
Three percent of Spaniards are thought to be gambling addicts, according to a support group.
The same group, ACOJER, said addiction influences more than a million families in Spain.
The regional Andalusian government has started the centre to treat those who become addicted.
José Antonio Soriano, director general of Sport and Culture in the regional government, said the centre would cost EUR 120,000 and would be built in a former military hospital.
The centre will be partly financed by companies which are involved in gambling.
It is believed the companies should finance the centre as they were thought to be partly responsible for getting people hooked on gambling.
There are to be 230 people treated at the centre.
Pablo Durán, president of ACOJER, said apart from those hooked on fruit machines and other types of legal gambling, others were addicted to the Internet, mobile phones and compulsive spending.
Recreativos Franco, one of the companies which is to donate towards the centre, makes EUR 820 million from the sale of fruit machines worldwide.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news