Online casinos in Spain are not having a happy time of it at the moment, as the online gambling industry in the country has shrunk yet again, this time falling by 20% in just 6 months. Indeed, gross revenue for Q3 was EUR 51.6 million, down from EUR 55.4 million in Q2, and from EUR 61 million in Q1.
The problem, however, isn’t attracting new punters, as there was actually an increase of 3.4% there. Instead, changes in Spanish gambling laws that have increased taxation levels to an eye watering 25% have been blamed. This giant tax hike has caused a sudden increase in unlicensed operators, too, which is surely an unwanted turn of events.
Another issue in Spain has surrounded the falls in revenue of land-based casinos. Indeed, back in 2007 – before the mobile casino revolution started in Europe – land-based casinos had turnover of EUR 2.55 billion. In 2012, this had fallen to just EUR 1.49 billion. Much of the blame for this has been laid at the door of the economic crisis, although how much is up for debate.
Indeed, there seems to be something fundamentally wrong with the situation in Spain. The giant EuroVegas project by Las Vegas Sands has been mooted for more than 5 years already, and is unlikely to be finished for another 18 years. There are other issues, too, and the government seems more likely to search for a few pennies to add to government coffers than any meaningful policy.
Sports betting remains the big draw in Spain, however, with the online market dominated by its 47% stake. Poker was next up on 30%, with casino play lagging behind at 16% and bingo almost too small to be noticed at 4%. There is expected to be some loosening of tight regulations on what sportsbooks can promote, but this is unlikely to arrest the decline.