Brick-and-mortar casino operator Casino Gran Madrid has become the latest to determine that Spain’s online poker market isn’t worth the effort.
On Wednesday, Casino Gran Madrid announced that it would be closing its online poker site effective Friday, July 31. The decision has no effect on the site’s casino games and players don’t need to withdraw their balances, unless they have no interest in playing online blackjack, roulette or baccarat.
Should players not have any interest in playing online casino games, they will have until August 31 to withdraw their balances and exchange their accumulated VIP points for cash. Players can also exchange VIP points for tournament entry fees at Casino Gran Madrid’s live poker room until December 31, but players must still notify the casino of their intent by August 31.
Casino Gran Madrid isn’t permanently shutting the door on online poker, saying it hopes to resume online play when it feels it can offer players a “more appealing” product. Presumably, this translates as ‘a poker site at which you’ll find other players,’ given the vertical’s dominance by PokerStars and 888 Holdings, who are believed to control up to 90% of Spain’s regulated online poker market.
ONE COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Earlier this month, Spanish gaming regulator La Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) released a snapshot of the country’s online gambling participants. The study of the 824,026 players who participated in at least one regulated market online gambling activity in 2014 showed that 87% of participants were male, and that 89% of these men were in the 18- to 45-year-old bracket.
Average spend per player was €243, but men spent considerably more (€261) on average than did women (€123). Regardless of gender, players in the 46- to 55-year-old bracket spent far more (€448) on average than gamblers in the 18- to 25-year-old bracket (€64).
Sports betting remains the most popular online vertical, with 60% of participants reporting having a flutter on a sporting event last year. Poker ranked second at 45%, while casino and bingo scored just 21% and 8% respectively, although the casino number will likely get a boost from the recent addition of legal online slots. Men were the dominant players in the betting, casino and poker verticals, while women made up the majority of bingo players.