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Spain: The Regulator publishes its 2012 Annual Report

The Spanish General Directorate of Gaming Affairs (Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego – “DGOJ”) has just published its report on the Spanish gambling industry during 2012.

This document is especially significant following notable events in the Spanish gambling market last year (especially the granting of the online gambling licences in June 2012). Particularly, the report analyses the economic data obtained from the gaming sector. In addition, it describes the regulatory and enforcement efforts undertaken by the DGOJ in connection with the regulation of games and the control and prosecution of illegal activities, according to the Gaming Act 13/2011.

The report highlights that the gaming market Spain has decreased. This is indicated by the following elements: on one hand, by the amounts wagered by users, and on the other, by the gross incomes per game. The amounts wagered in 2012 were €25,988 Million (1.1% less than during 2011). With regards to the distribution of these amounts per operator, 36% of these amounts were wagered with Loterías y Apuestas del Estado (the publicly-owned State lotteries and betting company), 7% to the national organization for the blind (ONCE, which operators, due to historical reasons, lottery products at a national level), 33% to slot machines, 7% to bingo, 6% to casinos, 1% to pool betting and 11% to online gambling.

The gross gambling revenue for the Spanish market in 2012 was €8,674 Million, (4.5% less than in 2011). GGR was distributed as follows: 44% to Loterías y Apuestas del Estado, 12% to ONCE, 32% to slot machines, 7% to bingos, 4% to casinos, 0.6% to pool betting and 1.4% to online gaming.

In addition to this, the gaming tax collected in 2012 amounted to €2,259 Million, (34.9 % less than in 2011). This was due to the decrease suffered in the incomes from offline gaming. Nonetheless, the tax incomes for online gaming have strongly increased. In fact, while the tax incomes from Loterías y Apuestas del Estado fell by 46.5% (and the same has occurred with casino, suffering a 9.4% decrease); online gaming tax income grew up 90.9% during 2012, up to €133 Million.

The annual report also analyzes the impact that the gaming market has had on the Spanish economy, highlighting the impact of this sector on the employment data. In this sense, the gaming sector sustained (both directly and indirectly) a total of 167,000 jobs in Spain during 2012.

Interestingly, the report also analyses the evolution of the gaming sector from a global point of view. It considers the development of the gaming sector in a number of major markets around the world, with special relevance to the online market. Firstly, it analyses the regulatory framework as well as the current situation of the online gaming sector in Europe. Subsequently, it analyses the situation of the major markets in the Americas and Asia.

In addition, the DGOJ evaluates its own performance during 2012, widely analysing its regulatory competences of this body. It explains how enforcement activities developed. The report confirms that, during 2012, sixteen sanctioning procedures against non-authorized online gaming operators were initiated. Nine of these procedures have been resolved as a serious infringement and resulted in significant fines (amounting, on average, to €60,000).

Finally, the report analyses, very thoughtfully, the DGOJ’s activities relating to responsible gaming. Particularly it refers to the initiation of activities of the Commission of Gaming Policies, the establishment of the Code of Conducts on Commercial Activities for Gaming Activities, as well as to responsible gaming activities (especially relevant is the establishment, in 2013, of the Advisory Board on Responsible Gaming).

The report suggests further evolution of the regulatory regime in the coming months, particularly the regulation of online slots and of exchange betting. Both would help sustain a reasonable growth of the online gaming sector, making the Spanish regulated market an attractive one for operators.