Spain’s Gambling Market Grew Slowly but Surely in 2018

  • Revenue of €9.87bn ($11bn) in 2018 represents 0.8% of the country’s total GDP
  • This figure is still below the pre-recession peak of €11.7bn ($13.07bn) reported in 2007
  • The private gambling sector accounted for the majority of revenue with €5.58bn ($6.23bn)
Spanish flags waving during a protest for the unity of Spain
The 2019 Gaming in Spain Yearbook shows that Spain’s gambling sector continues to grow, with last year’s results representing a 5% improvement over those reported in 2017. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Latest figures show solid growth

Consejo Empresarial del Juego (CEJUEGO), the gaming regulatory body in Spain, has reported year-on-year growth in the country’s gambling sector for 2018.

the Spanish gambling market was estimated to be worth €9.87bn ($11bn) in 2018

While the Spanish gambling market has yet to hit the highs seen before the 2008 financial crisis, it is still performing admirably.

According to the 2019 Gaming in Spain Yearbook, the Spanish gambling market was estimated to be worth €9.87bn ($11bn) in 2018, which represents about 0.8% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

This represents year-on-year increase of 5%, which means the Spanish gambling sector has enjoyed growth for the past four years.

Moving towards pre-recession heights 

The country’s gambling sector is slowly but surely getting back towards the previous heights of its gambling sector.

Before the global recession hit in 2007, the Spanish gambling market was worth €11.7bn ($13.07bn). This is 15.6% higher than the value of the sector in 2018.

This is not an uncommon trend, as many other countries and jurisdictions have struggled to hit previous pre-recession heights. This includes Nevada, with the state’s 2018 total gaming revenue being $1bn below its 2007 revenue figure.

Year-on-year growth

The private gambling sector generated revenues of €5.58bn ($6.23bn) in 2018, which represents a 4.2% increase on figures released for 2017. The public gambling sector is dominated by the ONCE and SELAE lotteries, which experienced an increase of almost 2% in comparison with the previous year, thanks to revenues of €4.29bn ($4.8bn).

The public sector has been performing a lot better than the private sector relative to their performances in 2007.

The licensed online gambling sector in the nation saw revenues of €724.4m ($809m), which was a rise of almost 25% when compared to results from 2017. A lot of European operators are now looking to enter into the Spanish online gambling market, including Betfred.

over 85,000 Spanish residents were employed in the gambling industry in 2018

The country’s online gambling sector grew by almost 31% in 2017 and 34% in 2016 respectively. The Spanish government managed to rake in taxes worth €1.34bn ($1.5bn) for the period.

In total, over 85,000 Spanish residents were employed in the gambling industry in 2018, with more than half of them working in the private sector.

Potential curtailments to gambling advertising

In terms of gambling advertising figures, a total of €412m ($460m) was spent on campaigns in 2018.

With a general election upcoming in Spain on November 10, a lot of political parties and people have been calling for a curtailment of gambling companies advertising practices. Some want the same restrictions put on tobacco advertising to be applied to the gambling industry.

One of the other positive notes highlighted in the report is that the rate of pathological gambling in Spain remains small at 0.3%. This is the joint-lowest rate in Europe, alongside Norway.