CEJUEGO: Spanish market still recovering from 2008 crash

31 October 2019

Spain’s gambling industry is still 20% smaller than it was ahead of the 2008 financial crash according to figures collated by industry trade association Consejo Empresarial del Juego (CEJUEGO).

Its annual Gaming in Spain Yearbook, compiled with the University of Carlos III of Madrid, shows that the entire sector was worth €9.87bn (£8.50bn/$11.00bn) in 2018, up 5% on the previous year following a fourth consecutive year of growth.

According to Cejuego the industry is still worth around 20% less than it was in 2007 despite regulated online gambling being introduced in the intervening years. The €9.87bn total means gambling accounts for 0.8% of Spain’s GDP, down slightly from 0.9% in 2017.

The private sector makes up 56.6% of the total at €5.9bn, which is up slightly on the 55% it accounted for in 2017. Public-owned groups ONCE and SELAE account for the rest.

Online gaming accounts for just 7.3% of total turnover at €724.4m. In the previous year it was worth 6% of the total.

In 2018, the gambling sector contributed €1.34bn in taxes and employed 85,047 people, of which 47,178 were in the private sector.

The Cejuego report also highlights that alongside Norway, Spain leads the rankings for European countries with the lowest number of problem gamblers, as indicated by the latest study on behavioural addictions of the Spanish Observatory of Drugs and Addictions.

"The data is good but we want to keep improving,” said the director general of Cejuego, Alejandro Landaluce.

According to the study, the gaming sector invested €412m in advertising during 2018 at a time when critics of the industry were calling for tighter regulations.

Landaluce said: "There is a commitment from the private sector to make proper regulation of advertising spend by limiting quantity, messages and schedules, specific sections during sporting events, to reduce overall impacts on sporting events and not to announce bonuses or fees and explanatory only and / or informational ads. However, this regulation must equally affect both the private sector and SELAE and ONCE.”

Under plans revealed in last October’s Budget, the Government outlined plans to introduce restrictions similar to those placed on tobacco. In 2005, Spain introduced regulations that prohibit the sponsorship of tobacco products, as well as all kinds of advertising and promotion in the media, with a handful of exceptions.

Earlier this year, senior politician Francisco Fernández Marugán, Spain’s citizens' rights ombudsman, recommended that the government explore the total prohibition of advertising related to gambling and betting in the media, radio, television and internet.