Spanish market growth slows in final quarter of 2018

The Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DCOJ) has released its final 2018 market report of the Spanish gambling industry, covering quarter four (Q4) 2018. Sports betting remains the largest vertical overall, but it was outperformed in growth terms by e-gaming and poker.

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Overall revenues were up 11% on the year for Q4 2018 in Spain. © Pexels.

All verticals experienced growth in the final quarter of the year, contributing to revenues growing 10.7% on the year. Gross gaming revenues for Q4 totalled £165.8m, a 4.2% rise on the quarter.

The biggest growth verticals were online casino and poker. Online casino revenues were up 32.6% on the year to £56.7m. Poker revenues reached £18.4m, a 36.5% rise on the year.

Sports betting remains the largest vertical with revenues just under €100m. However, that figure shows negative growth on the year of 2.1%. Live betting proved popular, up 13.1% on the quarter, while pre-match betting suffered, down 5.3%.

The cross-border liquidity sharing pact had a positive effect on poker revenue, which was up 36.5% on the year to €21.1m. Cash poker revenue increased 27.4% on the year, but tournaments were boosted even further, with a 43% rise to €13m.

Revenues correlated with the increased marketing spend by operators. Gambling companies spent €49.8m on marketing in the quarter, up almost 60% since 2017. However, laws around gambling advertising are set to change, with operators afforded less time to advertise both online and on TV.

Operators should continue to flourish in Spain

Despite growth slowing in some areas, operators should continue to succeed in Spain. Gambling tax has been slashed from 25% to 20%, while some enclaves are offering even more attractive tax rates and other benefits.

One of those is Ceuta, where Betfred are soon to open an office. Betfred looks set to benefit hugely from its new office location, while it awaits the verdict of its application for a Spanish licence. Taxes in Cueta are 10% of net profit, corporate tax is 7.5% (rising to 12.5% after two years), and wealth tax, local taxes, and income taxes are also reduced.

However, companies operating out of the area must meet certain criteria to be eligible. At least half of the workforce must consist of local employees, and local technology suppliers must be used.

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