Spain Bucks Sequentially in Q1, but the Market Continues to Rise OverallPublished June 22, 2019 by Lee R
Spanish market data for Q1 provides a glimpse into the impact of the specter of ad bans and government restrictions.
Despite sequential and individual declines, the Spanish market continued rising in Q1.
Contrasting Q1 Totals
Figures released Monday by Spain’s Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) indicate continued growth for locally licensed online operators. Despite a modest 2.14% rise from Q4 2018 to €193.2m, the year-on-year improvement of 20.1% from Q1 2018 indicated that the Spanish market is rising steadily overall.
It turns out that sequential growth in Spain’s regulated online market has been slowing over the course of the entire year, with Q1 growth marking the lowest gain since Q2 2018's 2.3% rise.
The online sports betting vertical remained strong, pushing up 26.2% year-on-year to €100.8m while the sequential gain from Q4 2018 was a mere 0.63%. In-play betting's contribution was a jump of 11.5% from Q4, with pre-match revenue down 11%.
Other marked statistical contrasts in the Spanish market include the apparent dichotomy between betting turnover (up 12.6% year-on-year but down 10.5% sequentially), as exchange betting turnover and revenue fell an eye-popping 46.2% and 21.6% respectively year-on-year.
Racing turnover also posted curious results, up nearly one-third year-on-year versus racing revenue's near one-third drop.
Ads Sustain Growth
Reasons for the numerical divergences may be traced to marketing, where Spanish-licensed operators spent a combined €92.2m on marketing efforts in Q1, for a 21.4% year-on-year rise which proportionally reflects the scale of aforementioned individual revenue spikes.
Short Term Lull
Advertising overall was up 16.1% to €47.8m, though this still represented a 6.5% sequential drop from Q4. The short term drop is attributed to operator unease with the threat of government restrictions against advertising. Into the vacuum affiliate marketing spending shot up 62.4% to €10.2m while bonus offers rose 14.9% to €29.3m.
Impact of Restrictions
So what is the reality? Can continued short term drops affect overall growth in the Spanish market? With the number of active online accounts in Spain growing 13.1% in Q1 to over 909k, the short answer is no.
Like in any established market, the threat of restrictive laws against gambling levied by the government may slow entry, but only the imposition of those bans can really have a significant effect on market growth. Any related impact on growth remains to be seen at this point as the Spanish market continues to expand unabated.