Spain’s Online Gaming Revenue Lost 4% Last Year, but Casino Activity Up


Spain’s online gaming market is still strong, but not as strong as it previously was. Online gross gaming revenue fell slightly last year even as there was more online casino action recorded.

Spanish flag
Spanish flag
The Spanish flag in front of Cibeles Palace in Madrid. The country’s iGaming industry is still strong, but lost steam in 2021. (Image: Getty Images)

Spain has enjoyed solid performances from its online gaming operators each year. 2021, however, saw the industry slide a little from the previous year. This wasn’t a result of less spending, since operators received €2.77 billion (US$3.06 billion) from players throughout the year.

Instead, the drop in the online gaming industry’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) is more likely due to restrictions that are impacting the sports betting scene. For the first time, the online sports betting segment recorded less revenue than the online casino segment.

Spain GGR Slips in 2021

Spain’s gaming regulator, DGOJ, just released its latest figures for online gaming. In 2021, the GGR was €815.30 million (US$901.64 million), 4.17% less than in the previous year. However, deposits and withdrawals continue their growing trend, increasing compared to 2020 by 21.64% and 34.91%, respectively.

In the analysis of the GGR by game segments, the online casino segment was the big winner for the first time. Its GGR was €407.14 million (US$450.21 million), accounting for 49.94% of all the online activity. There was €305.88 million (US$338.21 million) in sports betting (37.52%), €85.42 million (US$94.44 million) in poker (10.48%), €14.47 million (US$16 million) in bingo (1.78%) and €2.39 million (US$2.64 million) in contests (0.29%). Bingo declined in 2021 with an annual variation rate of -12.41%.

The betting segment had a decrease rate compared to the previous year of -16.23%. This was due primarily to conventional and live sports betting, which decreased in 2021 by 14.21% and 13.58%, respectively.

These two historically represent the vast majority of the betting market. In 2021, the market for “Other Counterpart Bets” also decreased by -69.93%, while horserace bets presented losses of €4.48 million (US$4.95 million).

In the casino segment, there has been growth in 2021, with an annual variation rate of 16.07%. This growth is mainly due to the behavior of slot machines.

Marketing spending in 2021 was €460.04 million (US$508.85 million), 0.92% lower than the previous year. Affiliate spending increased by 6.69% and advertising by 1.61%, while sponsorship decreased by 29.31% and promotions by 1.14%.

The number of active players in 2021 was 1,470,303. This is 0.61% lower than the previous year. The monthly average of active accounts was 997,483, which implies growth of 14.41% over the previous year. However, this was countered by the monthly average of new gaming accounts. There were 260,124 new users last year, representing an annual decrease of 9.85%.

Slots Catapult iGaming Upward

Since launching in 2015, online slots have helped increase the market share of casino compared to the rest of the segments. In 2021, it accounted for 59.28% of the casino and had an annual variation of 23.08%.

Live roulette increased with respect to the previous year by 18.16%, while conventional roulette dropped by 21.41%. Blackjack and punto banco have annual variation rates of -5.76% and -99.36%, respectively.

Since Spain initiated a shared liquidity agreement for poker with France and Portugal opened in January 2018, five platforms have been set up in Spain. However, they weren’t able to propel the segment forward last year.

Poker in 2021 showed a considerable decrease, obtaining an annual variation rate of -22.56%. This was mainly due to the decrease of 23.72% in tournament poker, which also represents 68.29% of this market. Cash poker decreased by 19.92% compared to the previous year and accounted for 31.71% of the poker market.

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