Spain’s online gambling growth slowed dramatically in the final quarter of 2018, despite operators’ marketing spending rising more than one-quarter.
Figures released Wednesday by Spain’s Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) regulatory body show locally licensed online operators generated revenue of €189.5m in the three months ending December 31, 2018. The sum represents a 4.2% rise over Q3 and a 10.7% improvement from the same period in 2017.
Sports betting continued to claim the largest slice of the revenue pie with just under €100m in Q4, but this represented sequential growth of just 2.3% and negative year-on-year growth of 2.1%. Live betting was up 13.1% from Q3 while pre-match wagering fell 5.3%.
Online casino revenue totaled €64.8m in Q4, up 6.4% from Q3 and a nearly one-third year-on-year improvement. Slots revenue rose 42.4% year-on-year to €36.4m, live roulette gained 35.4% to €12.9m, ‘conventional’ roulette nudged up 15.6% to €8.7m and blackjack was up 8.7% to €6.7m.
Online poker enjoyed a boost from its cross-border liquidity sharing pact with France and Portugal, posting overall revenue of nearly €21.1m in Q4, a 6.4% sequential improvement and a 36.5% year-on-year gain. Poker cash game revenue was up 27.4% year-on-year to €8m while tournaments leaped nearly 43% to over €13m.
Online bingo revenue improved 12% year-on-year to €3.5m in Q4 despite bingo spending dropping by less than 1%. The ‘competition’ vertical saw its Q4 revenue tumble to just €169k, a sequential decline of 47% and a year-on-year fall of 89.5%.
Q4’s active customer ranks hit 858k, up 5.7% sequentially and 25.5% year-to-year, while new customers hit 256k, up 10.4% sequentially and 27.6% year-on-year. Operators’ marketing outlay topped €95.1m in Q4, one-quarter higher than Q3 and 46.6% higher than Q4 2017.
For 2018 as a whole, overall revenue from locally licensed online operators rose 25.5% to €699m, although this was a slower growth rate than the market enjoyed in both 2017 (30.8%) and 2016 (34.4%).
Full-year sports betting revenue improved by 18.1% to €365m, reflecting the surge in activity during last summer’s FIFA World Cup. Casino revenue shot up 39% to €238m and online poker rose nearly 37% to €82m. Bingo was up 18% to €13m while competitions imploded, dropping from €6m in 2017 to just €1m last year.
Gambling ranked second on Spain’s ecommerce transaction report for Q2 2018, according to the most recent figures from Spain’s National Commission of Markets and Competition. Gambling and betting transactions represented 7% of Spain’s total ecom transaction volume, behind only transportation (7.7%). In terms of overall transaction value, gambling ranked fifth with 4.2% of Spain’s online spending.