Spain’s online gambling revenue surges on sports betting, slots


spain-online-gambling-slotsSpain’s regulated online gambling market saw revenue shoot up by more than one-third in Q3, and even poker reported year-on-year improvement.

Figures released this week by Spanish gaming regulator Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) show locally licensed online gambling operators generated combined revenue of €140.5m in the three months ending September 30. The sum is 16.6% greater than the market reported in Q2 and 37.3% more than it earned in Q3 2016.

The revenue gains are all the more impressive given that operators’ advertising expenses in Q3 fell 3% year-on-year, while the total value of operators’ bonus offers fell even harder (-18.2%). However, sponsorship costs nearly tripled year-on-year, albeit still representing a mere €1.9m.

Sports betting revenue rose 37% to just under €77m, with in-play betting accounting for nearly 60% of wagering revenue and 71.3% of betting volume. Spanish sportsbooks played lucky in Q3, as betting handle actually decreased 6.5% from Q2 while revenue rose 27.8%.

Online casino revenue totaled €43.9m in Q3, up 54.2% year-on-year and 4.5% sequentially. As ever, slots contributed the bulk (€22.3m) of casino revenue, representing a year-on-year improvement of 61.7%. Slots represented 50.9% of all casino revenue but just 39% of casino spending.

Live roulette ranked second on the casino revenue chart with €9.1m (+91.3%), while traditional roulette was well back at €6.83m (+16.2%), with blackjack at €5.6m (+40.2%).

As for the market’s lesser lights, bingo revenue improved 30.5% to €2.85m, while sweepstakes rose more than one-quarter to €2.1m.

Spain’s perennially struggling online poker market has recently shown signs of life, and this modest growth continued in Q3 as revenue rose 6.8% to €14.7m, allowing poker’s share of overall Q3 revenue to stray into double-digit territory (10.5%).

The ‘tournaments good, cash games bad’ paradigm showed no signs of abating in Q3, as tournaments saw revenue rise 18.7% to €8.8m while cash games were down 7% to €5.9m. The trend was also evident in terms of poker spending, with tournament fees up nearly 14% while cash games declined 5.4%.

In July, Spain was one of four European Union regulated markets – joining France, Italy and Portugal – to sign on to a poker liquidity sharing agreement, the details of which are still being crafted. However, Italian politicians recently raised concerns about the agreement, leaving open the possibility that the liquidity foursome may be down to a trio by the time it becomes a reality.

Spain is currently preparing to welcome new applications for online gambling licenses, and the online poker liquidity deal is seen as key to attracting additional poker operators to the currently ring-fenced market.