Pain in Spain as Handle Drops Off
Spain’s Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) has plunged 50 per cent, year-on-year, for the 10-months ending October 20 to €4.35bn (£3.94bn/US$5.27bn).
€2.45bn (£2.22bn/US$2.97bn) of this year’s betting handle was generated by the private sector and the remaining €1.9bn (£1.72bn/US$2.3bn) was raised by the state-owned lotteries ONCE (Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles) and SELAE (Sociedad Estatal Loterías y Apuestas del Estado).
These are the headline takeaways in Spain’s current “Gaming Yearbook”, published jointly by Cejuego, the country’s private betting industry council, and the prestigious Carlos III University of Madrid.
2019 revenue for ONCE and SELAE was €4.59bn (£4.16bn/US$5.56bn), marking around 0.8 per cent of Spain’s GDP; while income for private betting companies totalled €4.86bn (£4.4bn/US$5.89bn).
The biggest tranche of income in the independent sector was generated by bingo halls and gaming machines. Online gambling raised an estimated €776m (£703m/US$940m) or just under eight per cent of total betting revenue.
Last year a little less than 85,000 people were employed in Spain’s betting industry, around 47,000 in private companies, 19,000 at ONCE and 18,500 at SELAE. Another 50,000 jobs were dependent on the gaming sector, it was estimated.
“Although the drop in income from gaming companies is higher than that recorded in other sectors such as fashion, automobiles or in-shop sales in department stores, we have managed to keep redundancies down to 15 per cent of the workforce,” said Alejandro Landaluce, CEO of Cejuego. “This means that 85 per cent of the employees in the gambling sector still have jobs and are still working.”
Another relatively positive indicator, posted in October, showed that online gambling in Spain grew almost 18 per cent during Q2 this year, compared to the same period in 2019.
Online casino and poker verticals–as in so many international markets—are, crucially, helping to offset the big drop in hitherto traditional across-the-counter, bricks-and-mortar gaming action.