Is Spain’s Online Gambling Market Slowing Down?

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2018 started off strong for the gambling industry in Spain. Unfortunately, things took a turn in the year’s fourth quarter. Spain’s online gambling market is slowing down, but how long will that last?

It remains to be seen what’s in store for the igaming market here in 2019. Revenue projections fell short towards the end of last year, yet we’ve seen gambling markets bounce back from a tough quarter before.

Growth of Spain’s Online Gambling Market over the Years

Spain first implemented a set of laws to regulate their online gambling industry in 2011. These set of laws (the Spanish Gambling Act) allowed the government here to offer licenses to foreign sites operating inside the country and obtain revenue in the form of taxes. Today, nearly all of the best online gambling sites in Europe are available inside Spain.

Despite having one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe, the online gambling industry in Spain has grown exponentially over the past few years. 2017, in particular, brought about a huge increase in gambling here. According to the Spanish Gaming Regulator, online gambling activities increased by 38% from 2016 to 2017.

Half-way through 2018, officials in Spain cut taxes for foreign gambling operators to just 20%. This decision was made in an attempt to make the online gaming market here more accessible for companies and citizens.

This decision seemed to pay off. The first three quarters of 2018 brought a substantial increase in gambling revenue, with a 29.9% increase in revenue from sports and casino betting in the third quarter of the year. In 2018’s fourth quarter, that figure strangely dropped to just 10.7%.

Why Did the Gambling Market Here Slow Down?

Not many people could have predicted Spain’s online gambling market would have slowed down during the last quarter of 2018. Revenue had been surging in, and online gambling marketing was actually increased by local operators.

It’s not entirely clear why the industry began simmering down. There was a massive boost in sports betting here during the 2018 World Cup in June. One theory states that after the World Cup concluded, many people here simply stopped making bets.

Spain hasn’t made any dramatic changes to their online gambling legislation aside from the tax cuts. It seems plausible that the slow fourth quarter was simply due to a lack of major sporting events, and holiday spending taking precedence over gambling.

According to reports, the number of overall bettors dropped by more than 72,000 from October to December of 2018.

What Forms of Online Gambling Are Most Popular in Spain?

For years, sports betting has been the most popular form of wagering in Spain. Sports gambling accounted for more than half (52.7%) of all Spain’s gambling revenue in 2018. Horse race revenue saw a steep drop off of 27.79% last year.

Online casino gambling revenue in Spain actually grew 6.4% in 2018’s fourth quarter. Online poker experienced the same increase of 6.4%, while online bingo revenue dropped by a little more than 1%.

It’s reasonable to assume that 2019 will be a very strong year for Spain’s online gambling market. This country has recorded significant increases in gambling revenue since implementing the Gaming Act in 2011. With the lower tax rates to foreign gambling operators now set in place, there may be even more incentive for people here to start making bets.

Do you think Spain’s online gambling market will continue to slow down this year? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Kevin Oldroyd

A longtime sports and gambling enthusiast, Kevin looks to present up-to-date and reliable information for readers. If he’s not writing, he’s probably watching MMA or playing blackjack. ...

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