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Spanish GGR soars as long-sluggish margins recover in Q3

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
The Spanish regulator the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling has reported that gross gambling revenue (GGR) has increased on both a quarterly and yearly basis in Q3 of 2022, as the Mediterranean country’s long-weak betting margins rose above 4%.
Spain 2023

This is a rapid improvement for the Spanish gaming sector which had previously experienced four consecutive quarters in which gross betting revenue was less than 2.5% of turnover.

In total, GGR stood at €240.8m (£212.9m/$253.7) for the three-month period ending 30 September. This represents an increase of 18.1% quarter-on-quarter, and 31.3% compared to the same period the previous year.

This total included €89m in betting revenue. A trend of increased revenue throughout 2022 continued, with revenue 46.2% rising compared to Q2 results and 103.6% from the €43.7m.

The main reason for the rise in sports betting revenue was a rise in betting margins to 4.1% – once again a significant rise compared to the 2.2% ratio that sportsbook operators experienced in the previous quarter. Turnover, on the other hand, declined.

Live sports betting dominated the betting totals – rising from 47.3% to 56.9% of the total market from Q2 to Q3. Pre-match sports betting – which represented 39.6% of total revenues – achieved €35.2m in GGR during the period.

Steady rise

The online casino sector continued its steady growth in both total staked and GGR terms, rising from €117.2m to €128 from Q2 to Q3 – an increase of 9.2%. The long-term trend for igaming has been less volatile than for other verticals, with the sector experiencing slow but steady and continuing growth since Q4 2020.

At 62.4% of the market, online slots represented the most significant category of game played, followed by live roulette which stood at 28.8% of total revenue.

Marketing restrictions  

In 2020, Spain’s Council of Ministers approved the Royal Decree on the Commercial Communications of Gambling Activities, which reform the framework of the country’s gambling advertising regime.

The provisions of the laws restricted TV and radio ads to between the hours of 1am and 5am, banned sponsorships deals with operators and restricted the advertising of welcome bonuses.  

Consequently, Spanish marketing spend had declined a great deal over the previous year. There are signs that the market reached its floor in Q2, with Q3 marketing spend showing signs of growth.

Total spend was €96.31, a 7.8% quarter-on-quarter rise and a 7.3% increase in annual terms. Advertising – which made up the largest segment at €42.7m – rose in revenue, as did affiliates.

While a relatively minor section of the market at €1.8m, sponsorship deals nevertheless saw growth rocketing 373.7% quarter-on-quarter, a signal that some organisations have found new ways of coping with the regulations.      

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