Spain’s regulated online gaming market recorded a 12.5 per cent increase in first quarter gross gaming revenue, driven by strong performances across all products.

Gross gaming revenue (GGR) amounted to €217.97m in Q1 2020, with sports betting accounting for half of total market GGR at €110.62m, an increase of 8.65 per cent year-on-year.

Online casino gaming was the second largest vertical with GGR of €77.59m, up 16.76 per cent, followed by online poker at €24.4m and online bingo at €3.69m, representing growth of 13 per cent and 14.7 per cent respectively. A further €1.88m in GGR was derived from contests, an increase of almost 100 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2019.

Total marketing spend during the quarter increased by 28.3 per cent to €118.2m, with advertising amounting to €59.5m, promotions €42.4m, sponsorship of €6.0m and affiliate costs of €10.3m.

These marketing costs are expected to continue to rise ahead of the implementation of new regulations designed to combat problem gambling.

The new regulations, which were notified to the European Commission late last week for approval, aim to limit gambling broadcast advertising to the hours of 1am to 5am, with no exception for live sporting events.

They would prohibit naming rights to events and stadia and shirt sponsorship by licensed gambling operators, as well as prohibiting all advertising by unlicensed operators. Sign-up bonuses would be banned, as would the use of any celebrities in marketing communications, while free-to-play games would be available to registered, verified players.

The new rules also prohibit the unathorised use of another party’s brands and trademarks, including references to or games based on the draws or games of another operator, and online advertising would also be subject to numerous restrictions.

Operators would also be required to actively monitor and detect signs of problem gambling among customers and take remedial action.

The proposed regulations remain subject to approval by the European Commission under its emergency procedure, which was invoked due to the “the existence of serious and unforeseeable circumstances relating to the protection of public health and the protection of minors”.

This relates to the COVID-19 pandemic, which the Spanish government believes will increase the economic vulnerability of society due to the “extraordinary rise in unemployment” and, consequently, “a higher probability of gambling behaviour in an attempt to resolve economic problems”.

Gaming Intelligence

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