The PP parliamentary group intends to move forward with its proposal to modify the Gaming Law that will allow the licenses of betting houses to be renewed, even if they are close to schools. Otherwise, its parliamentary spokesperson, Miguel Barrachina, has warned, the Administration would face million-dollar compensation.
The Gaming Law, approved in 2020 by the left-wing Botànic government (PSPV, Compromís and Unides Podem), introduced important restrictions, such as the fact that gaming halls or specific betting establishments should be located 850 meters from educational centers and other vulnerable spaces – places with high rates of unemployment and poverty – and they could not be at a distance of less than 500 meters from each other.
The amendment presented by PP and Vox eliminates, for the possible renewal or extension of these authorizations, the prohibition of the distance of 850 meters with respect to educational centers, which has provoked criticism from the opposition, but also from parents' associations and mothers of students.
On Monday, the Confederation of Associations of Mothers and Fathers of Students of the Valencian Community Gonzalo Anaya requested the withdrawal of the PP and Vox amendments to the Gambling law because “they favor betting houses and gambling addictions” near the schools and institutes, and demanded that the distance of 850 meters be maintained between the two.
However, the popular spokesperson, Miguel Barrachina, after admitting the growing problem with gambling, explained this Tuesday in the Cortes that if the law approved by the left had been maintained, establishments that once achieved the licensed legally. For this reason, he has warned that the closures would cause million-dollar sanctions to the Administration in the form of compensation.
Barrachina has also pointed out that if the current regulations – “the most harmful in the European Union” – are implemented without the changes planned by the PP, thousands of Valencians could see their current jobs in danger.
Thus, despite taking into account the contributions and opinions of associations such as Gonzalo Anaya, the PP has defended the need to process and approve its amendment. “Those who already have authorization will be able to maintain their rights,” Barrachina concluded.
After learning of the PP's argument, Francesc Gamero (Compromís), who was regional Secretary of Finance at the Botànic, has denied the PP and has assured that "the transitional provision was studied very well so as not to incur financial liability" by allowing the transfer to a new location away from educational centers before the license expires.
The PSPV does not share the reading of the PP either. The Treasury spokesman for the socialist group in Las Corts, José Muñoz, has lamented that “this open bar proposed by the PP and the extreme right especially affects the youngest Valencians.” “They are putting their mental health at risk so that large companies can make money at their expense,” he indicated.
Muñoz has also highlighted that "the amendments included in the accompanying law referring to gambling demonstrate a clear commitment to degrading our neighborhoods" and has stressed that "allowing society to fall into the clutches of gambling addiction is unforgivable and inadmissible for a political leader.” The socialist leader has insisted that “from the PSPV-PSOE we will always be against these measures and that is why we are working from the first moment with the AMPA and the associations that fight to prevent gambling to stop these amendments”: “We need a unanimous response and agreement from the entire political community on this issue.”