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Spanish Online Gambling Market Sees Strong Growth in Q1 2024

The Spanish online gambling market has shown robust growth in the first quarter of 2024, as reported by the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ). The Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) for the quarter reached €350.69 million, marking an 11.23% increase quarter-over-quarter and a 15.14% increase year-over-year. This significant rise underscores the market’s resilience and recovery from previous fluctuations.

Growth Across Key Segments

spanish_online_gambling_report_q1_2024_ggr_up_15_1pctIn terms of player transactions, both deposits and withdrawals showed notable increases compared to the previous year, rising by 15.85% and 13.90%, respectively. Quarter-over-quarter, deposits grew by 5.61% while withdrawals saw a modest increase of 0.72%. Despite the overall growth, marketing expenditure saw a slight decrease of 1.0% quarter-over-quarter, while the number of new accounts surged by 15.21%.

The GGR is distributed across various gaming segments, with betting, casino, bingo, contests, and poker all contributing to the total. Betting accounted for €150.28 million (42.85% of the total GGR), followed by the casino segment with €167.76 million (47.84%). Bingo contributed €4.19 million (1.19%), contests €0.002 million (0.00%), and poker €28.45 million (8.11%).

Betting and Casino Drive Growth

The betting segment experienced a significant positive variation rate of 30.99% quarter-over-quarter and 15.37% year-over-year. This growth was largely driven by a remarkable 588.84% increase in pre-match betting, although in-play sports betting saw a decline of 31.69%. Other betting categories also grew by 1.57% this quarter, whereas horse betting decreased by 28.36%.

The casino segment, despite a slight quarter-over-quarter decline of 2.05%, showed a strong annual growth rate of 17.02%. Within the casino segment, slots increased by 14.98% year-over-year, and live roulette saw an impressive 22.19% growth. Quarter-over-quarter, Blackjack, conventional roulette, and live roulette grew by 7.32%, 9.69%, and 6.37%, respectively, while slots fell by 7.51%.

Other Segments Show Mixed Results

Bingo showed steady growth, with a 9.18% increase quarter-over-quarter and 24.93% year-over-year. Conversely, the contests segment continued its irregular performance, experiencing a dramatic fall of 96.79% quarter-over-quarter and 99.38% year-over-year.

Poker presented a positive outlook with an 11.98% quarter-over-quarter increase and a 3.99% year-over-year rise. Poker tournaments grew by 11.19% quarter-over-quarter and 2.04% year-over-year, while poker cash games increased by 13.91% compared to the previous quarter and 8.91% compared to the same quarter of the previous year.

Player Engagement and Market Dynamics

The average number of active game accounts per month reached 1,327,575, reflecting a 4.57% increase quarter-over-quarter and a 14.58% increase year-over-year. The average number of new game accounts per month stood at 148,862, with a growth of 15.21% quarter-over-quarter and 33.64% year-over-year.

For this quarter, there were 78 licensed operators in the market. The number of active operators by segment included 41 for betting, 4 for bingo, 50 for casino, 2 for contests, and 9 for poker.

Marketing Expenses

Marketing expenses for the last quarter totaled €112.79 million, broken down into €14.27 million for affiliation expenses, €1.07 million for sponsorship, €55.67 million for promotions, and €41.78 million for advertising. Compared to the previous quarter, marketing expenses declined by 1.00% but increased by 14.86% year-over-year. Specifically, sponsorship decreased by 12.55%, affiliates by 0.87%, advertising by 7.68%, while promotions increased by 4.93% quarter-over-quarter. Year-over-year, sponsorship fell by 27.23%, affiliates increased by 14.82%, advertising by 22.49%, and promotions by 10.92%.

Source: “1st Quarterly Report 2024”. Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling. June 4, 2024.

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KRAIL Blocks Illegal Gambling Websites Amid Uncertain Future

krail_blocks_illegal_gambling_websites_amid_uncertain_future The Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL), Ukraine’s gambling regulator, has taken decisive action against illegal gambling activities in the country. Recently, KRAIL blocked 371 websites offering illegal gambling services as part of a joint effort with the Security Service of Ukraine. This move was formalized through Order No. 451/2256, which targeted the domain names of these unauthorized gambling sites.

The order mandates electronic communication service providers to block the specified websites using their Domain Name System (DNS) servers. Between April and May, KRAIL and the Security Service issued over 1,000 orders to restrict access to various domain names and subdomains on DNS servers, further intensifying the crackdown on illegal gambling operations.

Uncertainty Over KRAIL’s Future

KRAIL’s recent actions come at a time when the future of the regulator is in question. In April, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, voted to dissolve KRAIL after more than a year of contention over its effectiveness in regulating the gambling industry. The opposition to KRAIL’s operation stemmed from dissatisfaction with its regulatory performance, particularly its delays in processing license applications.

KRAIL is currently composed of a collegial body with a chairman and six members. Meetings are only valid if at least five members are present. However, some commission members were mobilized for military service following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, causing significant delays in regulatory processes, including the issuance of licenses.

The legislative bill that includes KRAIL’s dissolution also proposes stricter measures on gambling advertising and other regulatory controls. This bill is set for a second reading, and if passed, it will become law upon the signature of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Future of Gambling Regulation in Ukraine

Should KRAIL be dissolved, the responsibility for regulating gambling will be transferred to the Ministry of Digital Transformation. Alina Plyushch, a partner at Kyiv-based law firm Sayenko Kharenko, highlighted the uncertainty surrounding the future structure of gambling regulation. “This is pending a further government decision on the creation of a new regulator under the digital transformation ministry’s umbrella,” Plyushch said.

She also noted the possibility that the Ministry of Digital Transformation might retain regulatory functions indefinitely. The exact duration and structure of this transitional regulatory framework remain unclear, leaving the future of Ukraine’s gambling industry in a state of flux.

As KRAIL continues its efforts to combat illegal gambling, the impending legislative changes pose significant questions about the long-term regulatory landscape for gambling in Ukraine. The outcome of the legislative process and subsequent government decisions will determine the next steps for ensuring a well-regulated and compliant gambling market in the country.


“????? ??? ????????? ??????? ?? 371 ????????, ????? ??? ????????? ?????? ?? ??????????? ???????? ????”. The Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL). June 5, 2024.

Ukraine regulator blocks 371 illegal gambling sites. iGaming Business. June 6, 2024.

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Basketball takes over sports gambling on Bodog

Man holding white and blackspalding basketball near brown and white basketball hoop

As had been expected, the conclusion of the NFL season, which found the Tampa Bay Buccaneers handing the Kansas City Chiefs an embarrassing defeat, opened the doors for an increase in wagers in other sports. Football had dominated the charts since last September, but it’s now time for basketball to take the lead. On Bodog, NBA and NCAA Men’s Basketball are now the overwhelming go-to options for sports gamblers. 

This past weekend, college hoops wagers topped the charts on Bodog, garnering 36.88% of the action. That was about 2.5% better than what the NCAA received, and substantially more than that of the third-place NHL, which only picked up 10.17%. After that, the UFC/MMA made an appearance with 4.15% before different soccer leagues captured four of the remaining top-ten spots. The Premier League was the best, with 3.34%, but tennis and golf snuck in next. The Australian Open Men’s Singles picked up 3.21% and the Genesis Invitational grabbed 2.47%. Germany’s Bundesliga, Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A rounded out the top-ten list, with Germany and Spain sharing 2.02% each and Italy getting 1.44% of the wagers.

Despite taking the top spot on the charts on Bodog this past weekend, NCAA games didn’t prove overly enticing to gamblers. The NBA captured almost all of the top-ten most-wagered events, with only one NCAA game making it to the list. Sports gamblers liked betting on the LA Clippers a lot, as the team’s games against the Utah Jazz and the Brooklyn Nets picked up 13.85% and 11.51%, respectively. In a surprise victory, the Clippers beat the Jazz on Friday, but couldn’t keep the run going and lost to the Nets on Sunday.

The Genesis Invitational, which Max Homa took down after a shoot-off with Tony Finau, attracted 10.79% of the wagers on Bodog this past weekend. Homa is intimately familiar with the course where the tournament is played, the Riviera Country Club, and has been a regular on the greens since he was two years old. With his Genesis win, Homa joins Bubba Watson as the only two players to take a Riviera victory with a bogey-free final round since 1990.

The NBA action returned to Bodog’s list next, with three games getting more than 10% of the wagers. Next, the NCAA’s Michigan vs. Ohio State game was popular with gamblers, as 9.07% of the bets on Bodog were placed on this game. Third-place Michigan handed fourth-place Ohio State a loss, walking away with a 92-87 win to improve to 16-1. Novak Djokovic vs. Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open attracted 8.58% of the bets as Djokovic swept three sets. The last of the top-ten events on Bodog flipped back to the NBA, with the Sacramento Kings/Milwaukee Bucks and the Golden State Warriors/Charlotte Hornets games getting 7.63% and 7.5%, respectively.

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Alabama Pension Fund Administrator Encourages Lawmakers to Authorize Gambling

The top official overseeing Alabama’s pension fund is calling on Gov. Kay Ivey (R) to initiate a special legislative session to continue talks about casino gambling authorization that stalled in the Montgomery capital earlier this year.

Alabama casinos gambling pension program
Retirement Systems of Alabama CEO David Bronner thinks allowing commercial casinos and other forms of gambling in the Cotton State could provide critical tax money that might be used to provide state retirees with a cost-of-living-adjustment. Gaming talks stalled earlier this year in Montgomery. (Image: Bham Now)

David Bronner is the chief executive officer at the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA), the pension fund program for state employee retirees. One of the world’s largest internally funded pension programs, the RSA is perhaps best known for developing the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, 11 golf courses spread across the state. Bronner was instrumental in the golf destination’s development.

Bronner is looking for new funding sources and thinks lawmakers who this year supported efforts to bring a lottery, commercial casinos, and sports betting to the state are on the right path.

However, the gaming package compromise reached by a special legislative committee failed to pass the state Senate this month by a single vote. The House had easily passed the gaming bill with the needed three-fifths majority support.

Special Session Warranted

Writing in the RSA’s June newsletter, The Advisor, Bronner says Alabamans participating in the state pension program haven’t received a cost-of-living-adjustment in 18 years. The additional state tax streams that lottery and casino gaming would deliver could help boost the pension payouts.

After the one-vote loss in the Senate, the most popular Alabama governor in my lifetime was asked about a special session, to which she replied, ‘Why would I do that?’ Simply put, because you can accomplish it,” Bronner wrote in calling on Ivey to initiate a special session to push the gaming bill across the finish line.

Ivey has been supportive of bringing slot machines, table games, sports betting, and a lottery to the Cotton State. But the governor said this month following the Senate gridlock that she won’t waste tax dollars on a special gaming session when lawmakers “cannot come to a consensus among themselves.”

Bronner says recent tax cuts made by the Legislature on groceries and overtime pay, as well as various tax credits, including $100 million for school vouchers, means less revenue for the state’s pension system.

“Antigaming folks might suggest increasing Alabama’s property taxes, which are the lowest in America, to replace this revenue, but this has been impossible to accomplish in the past,” Bronner continued. He concluded by encouraging RSA enrollees to ask the state lawmakers who voted against the gaming bill “how they plan to address the state’s problems without any new revenue in light of the recent tax cuts and loss of federal monies.”

Gaming Holdout

Legislative efforts to bring new forms of gaming to Alabama have persisted nearly every year since 1999 when state voters rejected a ballot referendum that would have created a state-run lottery. Alabama today remains free of a lottery, commercial casinos, racinos, sports betting, and iGaming.

The only permissible forms of gaming are charitable games of chance, parimutuel wagering, and Class II Indian gaming. The state’s lone federally recognized tribe, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, runs three tribal casinos where electronic bingo-based games that resemble traditional casino slot machines operate.

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Madrid Reports Significant Decrease in Betting Shops and Gambling Saloons

La-Comunidad-de-Madrid-reduce-un-60-las-casas-de-apuestas-desde-2019The Government of Madrid has announced a significant reduction in the number of land-based betting shops within the Spanish autonomous community, with a reported 60% decrease since 2019. The number of betting shops has dropped from 160 in that year to just 64 currently. Additionally, gambling saloons have seen a decreasing trend of 8%.

During a presentation to the plenary session of the Madrid Assembly, Carlos Novillo, the Minister of Environment, Interior, and Agriculture, highlighted the region’s standing in terms of gambling saloons per capita. Madrid ranks 14th out of the 17 autonomous communities and the two autonomous cities in Spain in terms of gambling saloons per 100,000 inhabitants.

Efforts in Regulation and Compliance

Carlos Novillo provided further insights, noting that the Madrid government has conducted an extensive number of inspections to ensure regulatory compliance. In 2023 alone, up to 27,000 inspections were carried out, with an additional 15,000 inspections conducted so far in 2024. These inspections have shown a decreasing balance of sanctions, which Novillo interprets as evidence of the sector’s adaptation and respect for the current regulations.

“The decreasing balance of sanctions indicates that the sector is adapting to regulation and is respecting it,” stated Novillo during his address. He emphasized that the efforts of the regional government to regulate and control the betting and gambling sector are bearing fruit.

Impact on Accessibility and Compliance

The reduction in the number of gambling establishments, alongside the decrease in sanctions, suggests a trend towards greater compliance by operators with the regulations imposed by the regional government. This compliance potentially leads to a decrease in the accessibility of these premises for residents of the Community of Madrid, contributing to a more controlled gambling environment.

Novillo concluded his remarks by reinforcing the positive outcomes of the regulatory measures, stating, “This trend suggests a greater compliance by operators with the regulations imposed, as well as a possible decrease in the accessibility of these premises for residents of the Community of Madrid.”

Additional Context from Regional Data

Supporting the minister’s statements, regional data indicates that the efforts of the Madrid government are effectively managing the gambling landscape. The comprehensive inspections and subsequent reduction in sanctions highlight the commitment to ensuring a responsible and regulated gambling environment.

As the Community of Madrid continues to monitor and regulate the sector, these measures demonstrate a proactive approach to managing the impacts of gambling on its residents. The government’s actions serve as a model for other regions aiming to balance industry growth with social responsibility.

Source: “La Comunidad de Madrid reduce un 60% las casas de apuestas desde 2019”. MadridActual. May 23, 2024.

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