Online Poker in Spain Suffering as Quarterly Revenue Falls

March 2nd, 2020 | by Jason Reynolds

The latest report from Spain’s online gaming authority suggests the benefits of liquidity sharing in Europe are starting to wane.

online poker revenue

Online poker revenue in Spain has dropped in the latter part of 2019 due to decreased MTT activity. (Image: The Economic Times)

Details of the industry’s Q4 performance were published by the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling on Feb. 28.

In addition to noting a 2 percent drop in gross gaming revenue (GGR), the report highlighted a downswing for poker.

Online Poker Earnings Tumble

Compared to Q3, online poker revenue in the final three months of 2019 fell by 2.14 percent. The €20.04 million/$21.96 million in quarterly earnings was also 4 percent down on the same period in 2018.

In context, the downswing appears to be par for the course. Although casino gaming revenue improved by 8.56 percent, the sports betting market contracted by 10.74 percent during Q4.

However, the report also notes a drop in MTT activity as the main cause for the recent dip in revenue. With that being the case, the initial surge of interest caused by liquidity sharing may be dwindling.

When Spain began sharing players with France and Italy in 2018, revenue trended upwards. Just three months after the pact went into effect, year-on-year revenue was up 27 percent. At that time, Q1 revenue was $24.5 million.

Industry Dynamics Continue to Shift

Although the latest figures aren’t too far down on those initial earnings, they are lower. That’s interesting given the upswing live poker enjoyed in 2019.

As organizations such as the WSOP and WPT saw attendance records fall, online operators in certain regions haven’t been so fortunate.

Online poker revenue rarely follows a stable pattern. The latest downswing may simply be a symptom of natural market fluctuations.

However, it may also be the case that local operators can’t rely on liquidity sharing anymore. While few would disagree that open borders are good for the game, they’re not a solution to all problems.

Spanish online poker operators must continue to innovate. With the likes of PokerStars leaning more towards casino-style innovations in recent years, this will likely drive the market.

For now, at least, Spain’s online poker operators will be hoping the 2019 slump doesn’t spill over into 2020.


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