Spain’s online poker revenue falls despite liquidity sharing


spain-online-gambling-world-cup-poker-liquiditySpain’s regulated online gambling market reported strong year-on-year growth in the second quarter of 2018, although the poker vertical failed to match its Q1 revenue total.

Figures released Tuesday by Spain’s Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) regulatory body show locally licensed online gambling operators generated revenue of €167.2m in the three months ending June 30. That’s a whopping gain of 40.1% over the same period last year but only 2.3% higher than Q1’s total.

The first half of the 2018 FIFA World Cup had its expected goosing effect on sports betting revenue, which jumped 46.7% year-on-year to €87.6m, although this figure was only up 7% from Q1. And while pre-match betting improved 32.7%, in-play betting actually declined 7% from Q1.

The online casino vertical produced revenue of €56.5m, reflecting similarly large year-on-year growth (36.9%) while remaining essentially flat on a sequential basis. Slots remain the dominant casino product, claiming over 51% of casino revenue.

The online poker vertical, which enjoyed significant growth in Q1 following the launch of PokerStars’ cross-border liquidity with France, suffered a setback in Q2. Poker revenue was up 34.8% year-on-year to €19.5m, but this represented a 9.4% sequential decline, despite PartyPoker launching its own shared liquidity in June.

Cash games were to blame for the sequential decline, as cash revenue tumbled 18.1% to €6.9m while tournaments were down a more modest 3.8% to €12.6m. It seems poker players were too busy watching the World Cup to pay attention to their poker play, as the cash games sequential decline was far more severe than that experienced in Q2 2017 (-5.5%), while tournament fees were up 16.5% over that same span.

As for the lesser verticals, bingo revenue was up 16.9% year-on-year to €3.3m, while contests were down 67% to just €340k.

The World Cup produced the expected surge in new customer registrations, which shot up one-third to 268k. Monthly average users were up 31.7% to nearly 860k.

The World Cup brought an even higher surge in operators’ marketing spending, which jumped 55.2% to €81.3m, of which €41.1m went to advertising, €29.6m on promotions, €3m on sponsorships and €8m in affiliate marketing.

Spain’s online licensees will be able to offer local punters a more competitive offer going forward after legislators approved a state budget this summer that included a reduction in online gambling taxes from 25% to 20%.