For the past five years, Spain has shown strong growth in the iGaming segment, with the numbers pointing at a 274 percent increase since 2014. In pure numbers, the growth translated into estimated €439.1 million as of Q1 2019.

In comparison, Spain’s gaming regulator, Consejo Empresarial del Juego (CEJUEGO) posted just €117.2 million over the same period in 2014. Spain has done surprisingly well amid an intensifying crackdown on gambling throughout the European Union (EU).

Spain emerged on the gambling map after the regulator published information in November, 2019 that the country’s gambling sector in 2018 amounted to €9.87 billion. In comparison, the gambling industry in the United Kingdom is presently worth £14.5 billion or €16.93 billion notwithstanding currency conversion rates.

Meanwhile, some 85,000 people have been hired by the gambling sector in Spain, once again similar to the United Kingdom where the number of employees hired by gambling entities is closer to 100,000.

Some €412 million was spent on advertising, propelling another sector down south. However, Spain is considering measures to restrict gambling advertisement, potentially following in the footsteps of casino regulations in Portugal and the new Dignity Decree in Italy.

The Gambling Sector Penetrates the Very Fabric of Spain

According to CEJUEGO’s ‘Gaming and Society’ survey, the industry may be on track to hit €500 million in gaming revenue over the next few years, with nine out of ten adults in the country seeing gambling as a pastime rather than social drawback.

Estimated 19.4% of the population has visited a gambling venue, including casinos, slot venues (the so called tragaperras – tragamonedas which are extremely popular in Spain), bingo halls or betting shops. Most commonly, however, Spaniards continue to participate in lottery games, with some 1.5 million gambling online.

Casinos have also been on the move in a bid to secure a bigger share of the revenue. In Madrid, 40 new gambling venues have set up shop since 2013. Regardless of the high permeation rate of gambling in the country, CEJUEGO’s study has found out that Spaniards are more capable of controlling their spending habits.

The survey revealed that players would try to set monthly limits as well as participate in shorter gaming sessions as well as cut back on games that prove to accumulate too much loss.

Teen Gamblers May Be a Problem

A joint-survey by the Federation of Rehabilitated Gamblers and Madrid’s Association of Psychologists claimed that one in five young people aged between 14 – 24 were addicted to sports betting.

While the findings haven’t been reiterated in CEJUEGO’s latest report, the incidence of gambling addiction across Europe in young people has been on the rise. In the United Kingdom, children aged 11 – 16 who gamble now number 450,000.

However, the CEJUEGO findings pointed out that only 0.02% of the adult population was diagnosed with gambling addiction. This could be for a number of reasons, including lack of adequate diagnostics tools as well as an individual’s inability to perceive the problem.

Nevertheless, Spain’s quick expansion in the gambling industry may be coming to an end soon as lawmakers are preparing for slightly more restrictive measures.

Spain’s Gaming and Betting Results Strong in Q3 2019

Spain’s results remained strong in Q3 2019, generating a 5.4% increase year-over-year and posting €191.7 million in total gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the three months leading up to September.

Much of this was thanks to sports betting, which struggled out of a challenging second quarter and came back boosting revenue in Q3. A total of €100.8 million was generated through sports betting over the three months. Online casinos contributed estimated €66.5 million to the total, which was a modest decline overall.

Poker remained the third-strongest segment, boosting results by 3.4% and up to €20.5. Interestingly, online slots suffered a slightly worse quarter, with the total amounting to €38.4 million.