Spanish people back gambling sector, CEJUEGO study claims

20 June 2019

More than nine out of 10 adults in Spain see gambling as a socially acceptable pastime according to a new report published by the country’s leading industry trade group.

CEJUEGO’s ‘Gaming and Society’ report shows that 29 million people - 84.8% of people aged 18-75 years old - played one or several types of gambling products in 2018.

According to 500 people surveyed as part of the study, some 92% see gaming as a leisure option, likening the money wagered to the price of a ticket for a show.

Figures cited in the study show that the majority of players just took part in lottery games run by SELAE and ONCE. In total, 6.6 million people, or 19.4% of the population, visited a casino, bingo, or betting shop during the period covered.

“Regarding the games managed by private operators, the analysis concludes that they attracted more restricted audiences of different generations, highlighting that their clients are divided into those who play out of curiosity and those who play as a hobby and because they offer them spaces to socialise with friends and acquaintances,” said a spokesperson for CEJUEGO, whose members include Cirsa, Codere and Grupo R. Franco.

The study, carried out by the Institute of Politics and Governance at the Carlos III University of Madrid, found that 1.5 million people gambled online during the period, which is just 0.9% of the population.

“This group shows dispersed behaviour patterns, from those who play stably to those who do it out of curiosity or who bet on an exciting game,” CEJUEGO said.

“The behaviour of these users indicates that they have learned how to play online and rationalise their use - shorter sessions, moderate monthly spending or decreases in the playing of some games.”

Spain remains among the countries with the lowest rates of problem gambling, according to the data. The problem gambling rate in Spain is at 0.3% and, according to CEJUEGO, “has not increased in recent years”.

Data from the Ministry of Health, cited by CEJUEGO, shows there were 7,000 people who were diagnosed with a gambling addiction in 2018 – just 0.02% of adults.

“Spain remains one of the five countries in the world with the lowest problem gambling rate, along with France, Germany, Sweden and Norway,” CEJUEGO said.

The most common reasons for gambling were “the dream of the prize”, in particular for lottery players, and to "meet friends and acquaintances" at gambling venues such as bingo halls. To “demonstrate knowledge” and “compete against the house” were also reasons cited.

"Having such a high rate of respondents, this study shows the true reflection of what is happening in the society, as opposed to certain information that is read or data that is heard from very small surveys and that make the information very unreliable,” said Alejandro Landaluce, managing director of CEJUEGO, in a statement released to iGamingBusiness.com.

Earlier this month, Spanish gambling regulator Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) published its new three-year strategy, setting out plans to ensure the industry operates in a socially responsible manner while allowing licensees to develop innovative new products and services.

With gambling advertising an increasingly contentious issue in Spain, the DGOJ has also pledged to tightly monitor advertising by licensees.

The Spanish online gambling market continues to grow in terms of revenue, with DGOJ figures showing a 20.1% year-on-year increase in revenue for the first quarter of the year.

Gross gaming revenue for the three months to March 31, 2019 amounted to €193.3m (£171.3m/$217.6m), up from €163.3m in the same period last year and an increase of 2.14% on €189.2m posted in the final quarter of 2018.