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Liberated Online Gambling Jacks Up Revenues In Spain

By: Fabian Rictor, Monday December 31st 2012
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Online gambling was legalized in Spain six months ago in June 2012 and a regulated mechanism was put in place. 30 online gambling operators were issued licenses. It is an appropriate time to look at the results. The Internet publication El has surveyed the online gambling scenario in that country since regulation and reports some astounding figures. The report is largely based on statistics released by the DGOJ gambling directorate, which is the designated authority that oversees gambling in Spain.

The simple story is that just over one million players spent € 2.3 billion in the first six months of legalized online gambling. The number of online gamblers has surged five-fold. There were only 200,000 players wagering online just prior to liberalization. If these total figures are averaged and annualized it works out to the average Spanish punter spending about € 550 a year on online gambling. The revenue was broken into the four main online gambling verticals. Online poker generated the maximum revenue amounting to € 952 million. Sports betting was second on the list with six months revenues of € 861 million. Online casino gambling generated € 371 million in revenues and online bingo generated € 24 million. The average online poker player spent just over € 50 a week, while the average online casino player spent € 33 a week during this period. The report published some other interesting information as well. 69% of online gamblers bought tickets online for the national lottery. The next was 52% who bet on sports. 68% of typical online gamblers were males, most of whom were generally well-educated and aged between 25 and 44.

The online gambling industry was not the only sector pleased with this result. Spain’s cash-strapped tax authorities will benefit from the increase in online gambling activity. Prior to legalization it was estimated that the tax revenues from the sector would be about € 100 million for this year. Now, revised estimates place the tax revenues at over € 140 million. The Spanish government’s economic wing forecasts that online gambling will grow at an annualized rate of 10%. Compared to Spain, Italy has estimated its online gambling revenues at € 9.8 billion and France at € 10.2 billion. El Pais reported that online gambling presently constitutes only 17% of the overall Spanish gambling market, and therefore has much greater potential for growth. Spain is scheduled to legalize online slot machines sometime in 2013. This will give a huge boost to online casino gambling in particular and online gambling in general. Italy had also delayed the legalization of online slot machines and a huge jump in revenues was achieved there.

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