Spain’s online market could be overheating

Spain’s online gaming market grew only 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 in the final three months of last year – a 10.74% year-on-year rise.

However, Spanish iGaming operators’ affiliate marketing spend increased by almost 30% during Q4 2018, to €9.7 million.

The relative modest growth in GGR indicates that the Spanish online market could soon lose some of its recent shine, says strategic consultancy firm Regulus Partners:

“[…] despite continued aggressive marketing support (50% revenue, net of bonuses; + 45% YoY), likely in part driven by the tax decrease and early ‘responses’ to the licensing window opening, the number of active players actually fell YoY by 8%. This suggests a market which might be capable of growth but that is far from sustainable from a net contribution perspective for the vast majority of its licensees.

From a top-down perspective, positioning in Spain still appears attractive in terms of macro trends and liberal regulation. However, from a bottom-up perspective, too many operators seem to have decided that is the case in an undifferentiated way, causing overheating and potentially signs that the market could start to disappoint.”

 

Jdigital debunks online gambling myths

Trade association Jdigital has released an infographic debunking three widely-held myths regarding online gambling in Spain.

The infographic points out that regulated online gambling is not anonymous and that playing behavior is closely monitored to detect early signs of pathological gambling behavior.

Furthermore, contrary to what is often maintained, the obligation of licensed operators to identify their players means that minors are not increasingly gambling online. In fact, minors are by definition excluded from all licensed offerings.

Finally, licensed operators do not systematically profit from gambling addicts. Whenever unhealthy behavior is observed, various protocols and control measures automatically kick in to further prevent players from losing control.

 

Spain to create a National Commission to fight match-fixing and fraudulent betting

The Spain Ministry of Finance has announced its intention to form a National Commission to combat match-fixing. The commission will be made up from representatives from the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ), sports federations, and the national police.

Stakeholders are invited to comment on the proposal until March 8.

 

Upcoming Events

The following events may be of interest to members of the GiS community.

  • Betting on Football, which is set to take place 19 – 22 March 2019 at Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC, is the only trade conference that brings together decision makers from international operators to address the recent issues and opportunities in the sports betting industry.
  • Betting on Sports America is the largest sports betting conference & exhibition in the US, featuring 175 leading industry speakers across 40 sessions. The event is scheduled to take place 23 – 25 April, 2019 in New York/New Jersey.
  • GamblingCompliance Global Regulatory Awards 2019, which celebrate excellence in compliance and responsible gambling initiatives, will be awarded on 1 May, 2019 at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in Central London.
  • 115+ speakers already confirmed their attendance at the World Gaming Executive Summit, 2 – 4 July, 2019 in Barcelona.
  • Betting on Sports 2019, the world’s largest sports betting conference & exhibition, will be held 17 – 20 September, 2019, in London. Betting on Sports 2019 will take place concurrently with CasinoBeats Summit 2019.
  • The International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) will hold its 2019 Annual Conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica from 30 September to 3 October 2019.
  • The Responsibility in Gaming Conference, taking place 23 – 24 October, 2019 in Brussels, will focus on what operators and regulators can and should do to create an effective and workable responsible gaming policy.

 

Spain’s Advisory Board for Responsible Gaming (CAJR) holds first meeting

On February 25, the first meeting of the Advisory Board for Responsible Gaming (Consejo Asesor de Juego Responsable – CAJR) took place.

The CAJR consists of regulators, addiction care specialists, and industry representatives. A full member list is available here.

During its first meeting, the CAJR also invited two responsible gaming experts: Dr Susana Jiménez Murcia, Coordinator of the Pathological Gambling Unit of the University Hospital of Bellvitge and Dr. Mark Griffiths, Professor of Psychology and Director of the International Gaming Research Unit of the University of Nottingham Trent.

The CAJR furthermore discussed the proposed Royal Decree on gambling advertising and responsible gaming, as well as measures to prevent the participation of minors in games of chance.

 

Other news

Spanish regulator DGOJ has made a kit of utilities available to online operators to facilitate the electronic age and ID verification of prospective players.

 

Gaming lawyer Santiago Asensi Gisbert, managing partner of Asensi Abogados, has been selected as a “star individual” entry in Chambers Global 2018.

 

Trade association Jdigital has requested that future advertising restrictions will also apply to state-owned operators.

 

ESSA (Sports Betting Integrity) has published an extensive response to the proposed Spanish sports betting integrity framework.

 

ESSA (Sports Betting Integrity) reported 267 cases of suspicious betting to the relevant authorities during 2018. Tennis (178) and football (52) constituted 86% of all alerts during the year.

 

Grupo Codere SA closes its full-year 2018 accounts reporting group-wide losses of €40 million, primarily attributed to significant Argentine market adjustments.

 

Codere has extended its partnership with sports betting supplier Playtech BGT Sports. The new contract, which will last until the end of 2022, covers Codere’s retail and online presence in Spain, Mexico, Panama, and Colombia.

 

Betfred will open an office in Ceuta in order to take advantage of the tax benefits offered by the Spanish government to gaming companies based in the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla.

 

GentingBet has applied for a casino and sports betting license in Spain and is planning to go live in the market by the end of 2019.

 

After five years of decline, online poker GGR has grown 37% in 2018, according to trade association Jdigital.

 

Spanish poker player Ramón Colillas has joined Team PokerStars.

 

The City of Valencia has decreed that the buses and bus stops of the municipal transport company can no longer carry advertising for online gambling operators.

 

MEP Ana Mirande of the Bloque Nacionalista Galega (BNG) has asked the European Commission to consider instituting a single set of online gambling regulations for the entire EU.

 

New sports betting market entrant Carousel Group has a large number of job openings available at its Madrid office.

 

Colombian gambling regulatory body Coljuegos announced the issuing of its 17th online gambling license to Bogotá-based Betjuego.co.

 

Gaming technology supplier PlayAGS has entered into a partnership with Ainsworth-powered online casino Mustang Money Mexico as it seeks to establish a presence in the Mexican iGaming market.