Gaming Innovation Group Inc. has applied for an online gaming and sports betting license in Spain. It is the first move of their planned European expansion and could be an ideal place for them to start.
The Spanish market can be lucrative to gaming companies, as the country has one of the highest levels of per capita gambling spending in Europe, and the market has consistently grown over the past 20 years.
But the company is not the only one looking at gaining an online gambling and sports betting license from the country in the new year. LeoVegas also announced plans to expand into the market earlier this month and Brexit could see companies leaving Gibraltar altogether and setting up in Spain instead.
Tempting Spanish market
The Spanish gambling market is one of the biggest in Europe, and while the industry is becoming increasingly regulated in the country, the lure of a slice of the lucrative market can be hard to resist.
In 2017 the total gross gaming revenue in the country was around $10bn, of which online gaming only accounted for 10%. Yet it is predicted that the proportion of gaming spending to shift online in the country will rise to 15% by 2023.
GiG is the latest firm to announce plans to expand into Spain. It will be offering its B2C and B2B services in the country and is planning on launching in the second half of 2019. All said, it should do well there.
GiG has the ability to cover all verticals in the iGaming value chain, especially if it supports the growth of other operators’ with its full range of services and solutions, as well as gaming products that can be personalized to suit specific suppliers’ needs.
The company currently operates in Malta, New Jersey, Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) and the UK, and has two licenses under review in Sweden.
LeoVegas also making a move
LeoVegas announced its expansion into the Spanish market for Q1 2019 earlier this month.
Company CEO Gustaf Hagman said: “We are now taking the next step on our global expansion journey and apply for our first license in a Spanish-speaking country, Spain. Spain is one of the fastest growing markets in Europe.
“Through our technology and experience, we can effectively adapt our business to regulated markets regardless of language and regulations. Therefore, we expect to launch in Spain already in the first quarter of 2019.”
The company currently holds licenses in Sweden, Malta, the UK, Ireland and Italy.
Changing climate in Spanish gaming market
The Spanish gaming industry is currently predominantly land-based, with online gaming taking a mere 10% share of the market in 2017. H2GC have predicted this figure will increase to 15% over the next five years, but the shift could be more significant than that depending on a number of political and social factors.
And of course, Brexit could lead to a number of high-profile gaming companies moving their headquarters from Gibraltar to nearby Ceuta, in Spanish territory.
Depending on licensing agreements with the Spanish government, companies such as GVC, Ladbrokes Coral, Bet365, BetVictor, Lottoland and William Hill could all move to Spain from the British territory.
It is not beyond the realms of possibility that those companies will look to expand into the Spanish market if they make the move, which could see the shift towards online gambling happen at a much faster pace.
The good news is that the market in Spain is definitely open to gambling. Gaming is part of the country’s culture and the government has set up a 10-year licensing system for online gambling companies that has been in place since 2010.
However, regulations remain tight for online gambling, which is thought to be in part why players have not moved online as quickly as they have in other countries, with the services on offer being relatively limited until now.