The year 2018 has seen the global online gambling industry go from strength to strength. In the wake of some of the most significant year-on-year growth experienced in the industry, especially within the European sectors, Spain appointed an advisory board of industry experts of gaming developers and operators to shape the country’s responsible gaming strategy.
Following a complete overhaul of the Spanish online gaming framework earlier this year, the country’s official regulatory body, the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ), established the Consejo Asesor del Juego Responsible (CAJR). The aim of the board is to support the regulator in the development, execution and overall management of policies related to responsible online gaming across Spain. Part of its remit is to form collaborations with other sectors, such as Spain’s Finance and Health departments, as well as conduct research and develop strategies to “adapt to the reality of the gaming market.”
A total of 25 new members joined to the board this November, including representatives from top gaming suppliers Playtech, Tómbola and the European online casino platform, Paf. Alberto Eljarrat, the CEO of sports betting specialists Sportium, and Maria José Gallardo, vice president of the software company R. Franco, are some of the latest members appointed, along with Francisco Feijoo, acting legal counsel for the Luckia Gaming Group. The board also consists of notable representatives from fields outside the gaming industry, such as psychology, social health and welfare as well as consumer rights. Juan Espinosa García, the current president of the DGOJ regulatory body, is chair of the board.
A Global Industry
Online gambling is still, by and large, a developing industry. However, as statistics from 2009 to 2018 indicate, every year, it has undergone incredible growth, generating even more revenue in the following six years, especially as the industry embraces advancements further in technology and innovation. It may still be a controversial subject among governments across the globe, but there’s no denying that this is a booming industry, and countries need to establish and implement comprehensive responsible gaming strategies and regulations.
The online casino industry broke the mold as far as expectations go. An increased focus on an innovative gaming experience by the leading operators, as well as a broad range of bonuses and offers such as free spins aimed at new customers meant that in some regions, online casino gaming is outperforming traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. Online versions of casino games are always more accessible than traditional casinos, but the advent of mobile technology pushes the odds even more in favor of these digital counterparts. A mobile casino is “always on,” adaptable to a player’s schedule and fits into their pocket. Plus, when you factor in advancements further like virtual reality (VR) and the integration of cryptocurrency and blockchain tech, online casino gaming not only becomes super-convenient but also, provides a current gaming experience.
In Spain alone, online gaming revenue increased by 30 percent year-on-year for Q3 when compared to 2017, totaling €181.8 million at the end of September 2018. A significant part of this figure comes from the sports betting and online casino verticals, more commonly known as iGaming, which many expect to reach a global value of over $74 billion (USD) by the end of 2023.
According to figures released by the DGOJ, July-September revenues for the casino vertical (including online slots and general table games) were up by 39.2 percent to €60.8 million. Player spending within this vertical was also at an all-time high of €2.1 billion (an increase of 35.6 percent from 2017). The new online poker shared liquidity pool with France and Portugal that Spain established in January of this year also benefited the industry, generating a 35.1 percent revenue increase to €19.8 million.
By the end of September, a total of 52 licensed operators traded in the Spanish market, with the casino and sports betting verticals again coming out on top. Thirty-eight online casino platforms were active during the period, followed by 29 sports betting operators and nine poker platforms (the remaining seven operators were active in bingo and competition verticals).