Online Poker Struggles in Spain while Overall Gaming Revenues Increase

The Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling is the gaming regulator of Spain who recently released the Q1 2016 report for the region. Online gaming revenues are increasing yet again, though online poker is seemingly struggling.

The gross gaming revenues for the online gaming market of Spain was up just over 32% from the first quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of this year. Last year, the country saw €77.42 million in earnings while this year that amount is increased to €102.32 million. Total deposits from customers were increased as almost 40% more deposits were made. For 2016, Spain saw €271.17 million in deposits made.

Advertising is a key component to online gaming operators being noticed. For the year, Spain operators spent €32.71 million in advertising with a little less spent last year, at €22.39 for the same time frame.

The big increase in revenues is due to the online casino and sports betting of the country. Gross gaming revenues increased by over 100% coming from €12.27 million last year to €25.04 this year. This was from casino gaming while sports wagering was also up, seeing a 29% increase when compared to numbers reported last year. The major jumps from both gaming categories combined with increases in contests and bingos help to see the industry push forward.

However, online poker was not a positive for the first quarter review numbers. While online gambling seems to be doing quite well overall, online poker is slacking. The gross gaming revenues declined by just over 12% for the first quarter of the year when compared to last year. 2015 earned €16.81 million while 2016 earned €14.79 million. The industry does seem to be stabilizing when looking at the fourth quarter results with a slight increase of just over 1 percent. This could mean that the next report will be much better, as stabilization begins to occur.

One solution for online poker gaming in Spain could be shared player liquidity. This is when online poker operators from one country open up their online gaming site to players in another country. Many countries around the world only allow players to compete online when they are located in a certain region. Take Delaware and Nevada for example. An agreement was made so that the online poker operators of the two states could share liquidity.

While players who were in Delaware could log online to sites in Nevada, players in Nevada could log on to Delaware sites. Players could compete against others located in completely different states when once online poker game play was first launched, was not allowed. Certain restrictions were in place but were lifted between certain brands.

Spain has the option to work with European operators to share player liquidity which could boost the game play of the country. However, there have been no moves made to begin the process. With a larger player pool, gamers are more enticed to take part. Imagine logging online and you know an online poker room will only have around 100 players total competing in an event due to low player numbers. This means less prize money along with lowered competition.

With shared player liquidity, Spain would be able to offer larger gaming options with more prize money and more competition. The country could partner with France whose regulator ARJEL just announced that the French Senate has amended a ruling that would not allow for shared player liquidity with other countries. This latest ruling could play a role in seeing the two countries working together towards one common online poker goal.

Only time will tell if Spain will be able to increase their online poker earnings or if the overall online gambling market will have to carry the country along, with casino games and sports taking the top spots in earnings.