Spain’s online poker market gets a serious boost from EU liquidity


spain-online-poker-revenue-player-liquiditySpain’s regulated online gambling market reported significant year-on-year revenue growth in Q1, as poker benefited from its new shared liquidity pool.

Figures released Thursday by Spain’s Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) regulatory body show total online revenue of €163.3m, up a healthy 28% from the same period last year but a 5.7% decline from Q417’s total.

Sports betting claimed slightly over half (€81.7m) of overall Q1 revenue, up 15.9% year-on-year but down 21.1% sequentially. In-play betting accounted for 62.5% of sports revenue and 67% of betting handle, while pre-game fixed-odds betting claimed 34.9% of revenue and 30.2% of handle.

Online casino revenue surged 51% year-on-year to €56.6m, with online slots claiming over half (52.7%) of the casino total. Live roulette claimed the second largest share chunk at 21.1%, followed by conventional roulette (15.2%) and blackjack (11.8%).

Online poker got a boost from the launch of cross-border player liquidity pooling between PokerStars’ French- and Spanish-licensed sites. Overall poker revenue improved to €21.5m, with cash games revenue rising nearly 30% to €8.4m and tournaments spiking 50.2% to over €13m. Cash game spending was up nearly 19% while tournament fees were up 40.4%.

Online bingo revenue was up nearly 30% to €3.5m, while the contests segment proved the lone decliner, tumbling 80% to a mere €200k.

Active user ranks spiked nearly one-quarter to just under 800k, while customer deposits shot up 58.7% to €562m. Operators were making a serious push to attract customers in Q1, with marketing spending up nearly 36% to €76.3m.

In April, Spanish legislators proposed cutting online sports betting and casino taxes from their existing 25% of revenue down to 20%. The changes, which could come into effect on July 1, could make Spanish-licensed operators more competitive with the offering of internationally licensed sites currently serving Spanish punters without a local license.

The importance of Spain’s online gambling industry was on full display in the latest e-commerce report by the National Commission of Markets and Competition. ‘Games of Chance and Gambling’ accounted for 3.5% of Spanish online spending in the third quarter of 2017, the seventh-highest ranking. In terms of online transaction volume, gaming and betting place third with a 5.8% share.