The fledgling online gambling market in Spain has shrunk in only its 2nd half year. After Spanish gambling laws changes that came into force in June 2012, gambling in Spain went online, with an average of 176,000 new signups every month during the second half of 2012. In the first half of 2013, however, this figure dropped by an average of 50,000 – to 126,000 per month.
With the continuing economic woes in the Southern European country, this piece of gambling news may come as no surprise to some, but it signals a potential drop in revenue for a government on its knees already.
One problem Spain has is the flouting of their licensing laws by overseas operators. Despite licenses being awarded to Spanish operators, foreign based casinos have been infringing on their market without holding any licenses. As such, they are paying no tax to the government coffers.
Online casinos in Spain are therefore feeling the pinch, but their regulative body could step in to help, by following the example set by the Netherlands Gaming Authority’s fining of Curacao based Global Stars. The EUR 100,000 fine levied by the Dutch is likely to look tiny when compared to the numbers coming out of the Spanish authority, La Direcciуn General de Ordenaciуn del Juego (DGOJ).
Potential fines between EUR 1 million and EUR 50 million have been mooted, as the regulator attempts to discourage these unlicensed operators from reducing the government’s tax take.
Gaming revenue also fell from Q1 to Q2, dropping 10%, whilst online sports betting revenue dropped 13%, although the end of the football season could have contributed heavily to that figure. Poker revenue dropped EUR 1.5 million, while casinos dropped 4%. It’s not all doom and gloom, though, as bingo bucked the trend with a EUR 100,000 rise in quarterly revenues.