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Online Gaming Falls in Spain ... Again

In recent times, Spain has constantly been featured on the news in Europe and the world due to its continuing economic woes. One thing that has gained less coverage is the decline of online gaming revenues in the southern European country, something shown by the recent release of second quarter figures.

Gross gaming revenues for licenced Spanish online gaming sites decreased by 10 percent in the second quarter of this year to total €55.4 million (around $73.6 million). Online poker, with all the forms combined, had the second highest share of total gross gaming revenues in Spain. Online cash poker accounted for 20 percent in Spanish revenues in the second quarter, while online poker tournaments accounted for 9.6 percent.

While Spain’s economy has been underperforming in recent years, it would be unfair to fully attribute that as the cause for the gross gaming revenue decline, which has occurred in both quarters of 2013. That is especially the case given that other European nations, such as France and Italy, have also experienced gross gaming revenue declines this year.

There is a more realistic possibility that online gaming may be seeing the beginning of a plateau in Spain, as well as other countries. The relative lack of a competitive atmosphere in the Spanish online poker market, something seen by the closure of Ongame’s Spanish service in June, may also be a factor in the fact online poker revenues have not grown.

PokerStars.es service continues to be head and shoulders above the other licenced sites in Spain. According to Pokerscout, the site has a seven-day average of 1,580 players, which also makes it the seventh most popular online poker service in the world.

888’s Spanish site was the second largest poker service, with a seven-day average of 395 players. That makes it the 20th largest overall online poker operator and the only other significant poker site in Spain.

A distinct possibility to pool online poker liquidity with those of France and Italy does exist, and is an idea that has been expressed by the Spanish gaming regulator. As all countries have experienced online poker revenue falls, the idea may benefit the markets of all three countries, but it remains to be seen whether or not the idea will get off the ground.

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