Spain’s gaming market grew by 17.7% in 2020
New figures recently released by the Spanish gaming authority DGOJ (Dirección General del Ordenación del Juego) indicate a revenue growth of 17.7% year-on-year, meaning that the industry is currently experiencing a boom.
Despite the fact that sales are down 4.2% in the second quarter compared to the first, growth of 17.7% can be observed compared to the same period back in 2019.
As predicted by industry experts, the strong performance that online casinos have seen is largely due to two reasons. Firstly, slot machines helped generate sales of 51.9m euros – 30.4% more than in the previous year and 19% more than in quarterly comparison. The live roulette section recorded another significant spike in growth. Sales skyrocketed in a 75% increase on the previous year and climbed to €27m.
These growth spurts have (according to the DGOJ) helped to offset the slump seen in sports betting due to the coronavirus pandemic which saw many major sporting events, such as the Premier League, canceled or delayed.
Betting income, therefore, fell drastically in many countries – including Spain which saw income fall to only €68.1m. This marks a decrease of 20.8% compared to the previous year and 38.4% when examining the first quarter of 2020.
The stakes in sports betting also fell by 49% to €288.9m alongside a drop in live bets by 39% to €698.6m. This drop is also reflected across all betting products where stakes fell by 40% to €1.05B. The sector is recovering slowly with stricter restrictions on advertising likely to prove a hindrance to recovery.
New growth comes amidst controversy surrounding new restrictions
Bonus payments fell sharply in the second quarter because of a ban on these kinds of payments from the end of March to the beginning of June that was brought in because of tightened advertising regulations.
Operators paid out a total of €12.5m in bonuses, which corresponds to a decrease of 57.3% compared to the previous year.
These new stringent measures originated from a cross-party agreement between Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (PSOE), Podemos boss Pablo Iglesias and Consumer Protection Minister Alberto Garzon. The agreement involves a legislative alignment of the advertising guidelines for games of chance with those of the tobacco industry. Because of this, the European EGBA had requested the Spanish Government to be more moderate.
Measures for consumer protection have been welcomed by the majority of the industry’s key players but concerns have been raised over the effectiveness of a sponsorship ban as this could push players towards unlicensed providers. New safer payment options such as the Pay N Play Casino function is being evaluated for a future lunch in the market.
The online gaming association Jdigital has been particularly critical of the advertising restrictions and Spain’s two major state providers, as it is a massive area of concern for state gaming operators that they are not subject to the same regulations as private operators.