Spain Suffers Financial Slow Down In 2019 Q4

In the final quarter of 2019 the online gambling market in Spain suffered a slowdown as casino games were the only vertical to post-year rise.

Figures released Friday by the regulatory body of Spain’s Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) show that Spanish-licensed online gambling operators reported revenues of € 188.5 million in Q4, a 2% decline from the final quarter of 2018 and a 3.2% decline from Q3 2019.

Sports betting revenue fell 10.2% year-on-year to € 90 million in Q4, though losses were also visible in poker (€ 20 m,-4%) and bingo (€ 2.7 m,-24%). Online casino sales reversed the downward trend, rising 11.7 percent to € 72.3 million while the tiny but highly volatile category of’ contests’ nearly quadrupled to € 610k.

The sports sector suffered mostly from a lack of interest, as betting turnover slipped 9 percent year-on-year to € 1,85b, of which € 1,13b was wagering in-play. In-play sales plummeted by almost 22 per cent year-on-year, while pre-match betting rose by 23.6 percent to € 663.3 million.

Online casino spending jumped 14.4 percent to € 2.53b, while live roulette slots jumped 36 percent to € 779.5 m. Traditional roulette was not so lucky, dropping 4% to € 377 million when blackjack plummeted 14.2% to € 246.8 million.

Online poker was saved from an even greater fall in tournaments, with entry fees rising 13.7 percent to € 262.6 million, while cash games dropped 9.4 percent to € 308.7 million.

For the year as a whole, total revenue from online gambling increased by 7.1 percent to € 748.5 million, with sports growing by 3.7 percent to € 378.6 million and casino rising by 15.2 percent to € 273.9 million, while poker dropped by around € 500k to € 81.3 million and bingo fell by 9.7 percent to € 12.1 million.

Online operators in Spain reported 301k new accounts in Q4, up 17.7 percent year-on-year, while active accounts increased 13.3 percent to almost 973k. In Q4, licensees invested more than € 56.7 million on ads, up 10.8 per cent year-on-year. Affiliate spending increased by 6.4% to € 10.9 million, while bonus deals increased by almost one-quarter to € 39.5 million and sponsorship payments increased by 38.8% to € 5.8 million.

When Spain imposes its new advertising limits, those numbers are likely to start trending downward. Spain’s consumer affairs minister Alberto Garzón, who announced the proposed new regulations last week, said he hopes they would eventually prohibit about 80 percent of current online marketing efforts in gambling.

The rules proposed are still under review but the government is already negotiating their implementation with outside powers. Spanish media announced that next week, Garzón had a meeting with Google to discuss how to restrict the access of Spanish people to gambling ads via the company’s YouTube video platform.

The ambiguity did not dissuade gaming operators from pursuing Spanish licences. The DGOJ revealed a series of newly issued licences this week, including the fortunate recipients Casumo, Eurasia Solutions, Genting, Rabbit Entertainment, Sisal, Skill on Net and 1xBet.