A Bright Future for Gambling in Spain

30 November 2006

The Media & Entertainment Consulting Network GmbH (MECN) has high expectations for the Spanish gambling market. Its new report, "The Spanish Gambling Market - a key region for future growth," explains why.

Some of the main reasons, as outlined by the report's author, Martin Oelbermann, are:

  • Increasing liberalization. Many autonomous regions in Spain are working toward a liberalization of the market, and the betting sector (including interactive gambling) could benefit from that.

  • Big players are already poised for expansion into Spain. Many international companies, such as William Hill and Betbull/bwin, already have joint ventures in place and are poised to take advantage of the market in Spain.

  • Retail betting and interactive gambling have shown an impressive growth potential.

The Market

The Spanish gambling market in 2005 was 29 billion euro and is expected to grow to 39 billion euro by 2010. Pro capita gambling in 2005 was 722 euro.

The retail betting market is expected to grow to around euro 4.5 billion--more than 750 percent larger than its current size--by 2010.

Spain's gambling market is composed of six sectors:

  1. Lottery - Spain's lottery market is one of the largest in the world and can boast impressive per-capita sales. In 2005 lottery products in the national Spanish market were 38 percent of the total market, and the total turnover rose by circa 15 percent from 9.5 billion euro in 2001 to 10.9 billion euro in 2005. This number is expected to reach 11.5 billion in 2010.

  2. Interactive Gambling - The other growth driver, interactive gambling, is expected to reach 4.2 billion euro by 2010, an increase of around 240 percent over the current level.

  3. Betting - The betting sector realized turnover of 505 million euro in 2005.

  4. Casino - The casino market realized turnover of circa 2.5 billion euro in 2005.

  5. Bingo: The bingo market in 2005 saw turnover of 3.8 million euro and gross revenue of 1.3 billion euro.

  6. Non-Casino Machines - These games (Type B) had a 37 percent market share in 2005.

The state lottery and betting operators, LAE and ONCE respectively, dominate the gambling market.

The Interactive Gambling Market

The Spanish interactive gambling market is operating in a gray area. The number of autonomous communities with legislation and administrative competencies for gaming in Spain, according to Oelbermann, is increasing.

The Internet penetration is now 16 million (40 percent of Spain's 40 million inhabitants). Analysts expect there to be 30 million Internet users in 2010. The prominent Internet operators in Spain are bwin, Unibet, Expekt, Sportingbet/Miapuesta, Centrebet/Iberapuesta, Bet365/Jugandovoy, Interwetten/Interapuestas and Betfair.

The I-gaming market will grow to 4.2 billion euro by 2010, and the most important interactive gambling sectors in terms of gross revenue will be betting (with a 34 percent market share) and casinos (31 percent). The fastest growing sectors from 2006 to 2010 will be bingo and lottery, with growth rates of 71 percent and 66 percent respectively.

According to the Spanish Association of Internet Bettors, 15 Internet operators generated combined turnover of around 255 million euro in Spain in 2005. These operators had a combined 550,000 registered users (220,000 of them active).

Industry experts generally consider Spain one of the promising growth markets for bingo via the Internet, although growth has bee slow to this point.


No relevant new m-gambling products are being brought to the Spanish market, where mobile penetration is 97 percent. However, heavyweight Telefonica, (and in its backpack, EndeMol), will be developing more specialized m-gambling products.

Drivers for new m-gambling and I-gaming products will come from the sports arena, where enthusiastic Spanish sports fans go crazy over their favorite soccer, basket ball and cycling teams, as well as the very popular Spanish tennis player, Rafael Nadal, and 2006 FI World Champion Fernando Alonso.

Rob van der Gaast has a background in sports journalism. He worked for over seven years as the head of sports for Dutch National Radio and has developed new concepts for the TV and the gambling industry. Now he operates from Istanbul as an independent gambling research analyst. He specializes in European gambling matters and in privatizations of gambling operators. Rob has contributed to IGN since Jul 09, 2001.