Spain iGaming growth slows in Q4

5 February 2019

Spain’s online gaming market grew modestly in the final quarter of 2018 despite a surge in marketing expenditure, new figures from the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) have revealed.

Gross gaming revenue increased by 4.21% on a quarterly basis to €189.5m (£166.3m/$216.4m) in the final three months of last year – a 10.74% year-on-year rise. The DGOJ had reported a 29.9% year-on-year increase in GGR in the previous quarter, through to the end of September.

More than half (52.7%) of the GGR was generated by sports betting, although the total of €99.9m represented marginal quarterly growth of 2.33%. The figures were not helped by a sharp 26.79% quarterly fall in horse racing GGR.

A 5.31% quarter-on-quarter decrease in pre-match betting was offset by in-play betting, which increased by 13.13%.

Following betting, casino accounted for €64.77m of the quarter’s online GGR, with the DGOJ citing slots as the key driver behind a 6.38% quarterly increase and a 32.59% year-on-year rise.

Poker (€21.08m) and bingo (€3.51m) both enjoyed healthy quarterly increases of 6.4% and 11.67%.

However, marketing costs rocketed to €95.11m in the final three months of 2018 – a quarterly increase of 25.11% and a year-on-year rise of 46.58%. Of the total, advertising accounted for more than half of the expenditure (€49.81m) followed by promotions (€32.15m), affiliate costs (€9.67m) and sponsorships (€3.48m).

Despite the increase in marketing investment, the number of active users dropped from 900,000 in October to 828,000 in December 2018 and the number of new users registered also fell from 290,000 to 235,000 over the same period.

The number of licensed operators active in the market remained unchanged at 52.

Last summer, Spanish legislators slashed tax rates for online gambling operators in the country.