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Last month, Spain’s national regulator, the DGOJ, announced record-breaking revenues and turnover for the country’s iGaming market.
Sportsbook revenue rose 32% on the previous year to €238.2m,while casino revenues enjoyed an even greater boost of 73% on 2015 figures following the addition of online slots to the permitted product verticals.
The hard work of the DGOJ in creating an appealing jurisdiction means many in Europe are now taking notice of the Spanish market for the first time, with annual turnover of more than €10bn and revenues of more than €400m.
This represented fantastic progress for a market that only regulated in 2012. The appointment of Juan Espinosa Garcia, who has worked at the DGOJ since 2013, as the new director general of the regulator is another encouraging step.
Secret of success
This is not to say succeeding in Spain is easy. The market is increasingly competitive, and there remains a sizeable volume of players who bet offshore.
However, Spain has yet to reach the maturity of its counterparts in the UK and Scandinavia, and there are opportunities for operators who can bring innovation and agility to the market.
Those that succeed in Spain will not be operators who simply replicate the same products that have worked well in other markets. Spain has grown as an iGaming jurisdiction, and now only those who can offer tailored, localised products will be able to compete.
A number of factors are required to operate effectively in Spain.
Firstly, you need a flexible platform that can adapt to and comply with the demands of the local market, whether that be player preferences or regulatory requirements.
It is also important to build strong relationships with the local regulator. The DGOJ has worked closely with operators and suppliers to build a licensing framework that is fair and works for all. This is an ongoing process, and our industry must continue to cooperate.
A flexible platform run by those with local expertise allows operators to market effectively, adapt the user experience and prioritise the product offering based on demand and regulation. We saw this in action when online slots were licensed for the first time in 2015.
Ultimately, it will be those who understand the intricacies of the region who build market share, with those who attempt to roll out ‘one-size-fits-all’ products unlike to gain much traction.
There is an appetite for more growth in this young market, as the slots boom has shown. With a solid and evolving regulatory framework in place, the challenge facing Spanish gaming now is to push forward innovation across areas such as server-based retail gaming, where we are now able to create a full omni-channel experience, and expand into new verticals such as virtual sports.
The future is bright, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of Europe’s major operators make moves in Spain in the coming months and years.