The embattled Spanish government is set to authorise online slots this year, following a successful first six months of the regulated market which saw Spaniards gamble €2.3bn online.
The legitimisation provided by the licensing of 53 companies to offer online sports betting, poker, casino table games and bingo since early June has resulted in one million Spanish players regularly gambling online at dot.es websites, a five-fold increase in the 200,000 doing so prior to regulation, according to figures released by Spanish regulator La Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) to El Pais.
Poker has so far proved the most popular in wagering terms among Spaniards since the opening of the market, accounting for €952m or 40% of turnover from early June until the end of November, followed by sports betting with €861m, casino table games with €371m, and bingo €24m.
Sports betting however boasted the highest participation levels, with 52% of online gamblers saying they had bet on sports, compared to 38% for poker. Men also dominated online activity, making up 68% of gamblers, with most aged between 25 and 44.
Spanish tax authorities also revealed they would collect €140m in 2012 from the activity – presumably including the tens of millions in back taxes collected from companies including bwin.party, PokerStars, bet365, Sportingbet and Betfair ahead of the market opening – with this projected to rise to €160m in 2013 off €5bn turnover in 2013, based on its expectations that the market would grow by 10% in 2013.
Spain’s online gambling market is currently less than half the size of the more mature dot.country online markets of Italy and France, where annual turnover is approximately €10bn. Italy authorised online slots last month, following a year-on-year decline in revenues from its online gambling sector.
Article written by Stephen Carter