Spain’s gambling operators enjoy World Cup, even if team didn’t


spain-online-gambling-world-cupSpain’s regulated online gambling market reported strong year-on-year growth in the third quarter of 2018, as poker continued to benefit from international liquidity pooling.

Figures released Wednesday by Spain’s Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) regulatory body show locally licensed online operators generated revenue of nearly €182m in the three months ending September 30, an 8.7% rise over Q2 2018 and a 30% improvement over the same period last year. (Read the full report here.)

Sports betting led the Q3 revenue chart with €97.6m, up 11.5% from Q2 and 27.4% higher year-on-year. Betting turnover was down slightly from Q2, reflecting Spain’s relatively early exit from the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the latter stages of which played out in Q3.

In-play betting accounted for the bulk (€54.9m) of Q3’s wagering revenue, with pre-match betting accounting for most of the rest (€40.4m). However, pre-match betting revenue posted a larger year-on-year gain (36.5%) than in-play (23.9%).

The online casino vertical produced revenue of €60.9m, more than one-third higher year-on-year. Slots revenue shot up nearly 54% to €34.2m, while live roulette was up 31% to €11.9m, conventional roulette gained 26.4% to €8.6m and blackjack improved 10% to €6.1m.

Online poker continued to benefit from shared liquidity with operators licensed in both Spain and France, as revenue rose nearly 11% year-on-year to €19.8m. Poker cash game revenue was up 24.5% to €7.4m while tournament revenue shot up 42.3% to €12.4m. Poker spending enjoyed even gaudier gains, with cash games up 28.5% while tournaments rose 53.8%.

Poker’s sequential revenue gains were more modest, rising only 1.9%. Moreover, while cash game revenue enjoyed a sequential 7.1% rise, tournaments were down 1%, despite tournament spending improving 11.3% from Q2.

As for the market’s other segments, bingo revenue was up 11.3% to €3.1m, while contest revenue tumbled 85% to a mere €320k.

Spanish-licensed operators’ marketing costs shot up 56.3% to nearly €75.9m, with most of that going toward advertising (€36.4m) and promotions (€28.6m). The increased marketing helped boost active customer ranks by nearly one-third to 812k but the monthly average of new customer registrations fell by nearly 2% to 232k.

Attracting new customers could become even more of a challenge if Spain’s government makes good on its threats to drastically curtail gambling advertising. On the plus side, Spanish operators are now keeping more of the revenue they generate after the government cut the tax rate by five points to 20% on June 1.