Gambling in Andalusia, Spain, Almost Back to Pre-COVID-19 Levels

Posted on: May 6, 2022, 05:40h. 

Last updated on: May 6, 2022, 02:29h.

The gambling industry in Spain continues to find new ground in its battle to recover financially from COVID-19. It’s on the right path, with Andalusia reporting gaming revenue almost at the level it was before the pandemic.

Flags of Andalucia, Spain and the European Union
The flags of Andalusia, Spain and the European Union fly in the image above. Andalusia’s gaming industry is on the rebound, with casinos and other gaming sectors almost returning to pre-COVID-19 levels. (Image: Shutterstock)

The Andalusian government has published its annual report, “Statistics of Private Gambling in Andalusia.” It addresses all aspects of the gambling market in the region and includes information on the face-to-face gambling market related to casinos, bingo, and recreational and gambling machines.

The home of flamenco dancing and award-winning beaches is on the road to recovery, recently dropping virtually all COVID-19-induced health restrictions. The year 2021 delivered a level of gaming that was around 48% of the total volume of gaming activity from the year prior.

In a better comparison, the total volume in Andalusia last year represents 85% of that which occurred in 2019, prior to the pandemic.

Gambling Returns to Spain

The data for 2021 places the casino subsector almost in parameters similar to the volume that occurred six years ago. Compared to 2020, the total volume experienced an increase of 46% compared to 2019. It represented 83.1% of the volume of gambling produced in the year prior to the declaration of the state of alarm.

For traditional bingo, the data for 2021 confirms a residual interaction in the bingo halls of Andalusia. In 2021, less was played than in 2020, taking into account the restrictions. Meanwhile, electronic bingo remains in the same ascending line. The 2021 fiscal year meant an increase in the volume of gambling for online bingo of 24.5% compared to a year earlier.

There was greater movement in the gaming machine segment. As for the number of units of installed recreational machines, the recovery of 2021 places the subsector at the same level as it was in 2017. In 2021, there was a recovery of 52.5%, compared to the performance during COVID-19’s domination.

In-person sports betting showed an increase of 8.6% compared to 2019. However, in 2021, there was a decrease in the number of live terminals in gambling establishments, as the segment lost 1.4%. This indicates stagnation in the current size of the market.

Spain Gambling Remains Strong

New rules on sports betting advertising, as well as other recent changes, might continue to hinder the recovery of Spain’s entire gaming industry. However, overall, the figures show that the measures aren’t causing drastic reductions.

On November 3, 2020, Royal Decree 958/2020 was announced. This decree contained new restrictions that Spain put on the online gaming sector. These restrictions came into effect in August 2021. As a result, the sector had around one year to drastically change its marketing strategy.

The new rules sought to reduce advertising in the gaming sector (either online or physical) in different media. This includes television and radio, as well as other platforms, such as YouTube. There are different restrictions, such as not being able to use popular celebrities in advertising.

One of the most important changes is that advertising can only appear from 1 to 5 in the morning. Casinos also cannot appear as sponsors on the jerseys of sports teams or inside their stadiums.

The last quarter of 2021 was the first full period following the implementation of the new laws. However, the casino sector is the one that has been least affected by the new restrictions. It had a growth of 22.64% last year.

In the fourth quarter, there was a slight year-on-year improvement of 0.48%. The gaming machine segment also had annual growth and registered an increase of 7.5%.

Spain is emerging from COVID-19 and gambling is beginning to see more activity. As a result, it will soon be easier to understand fully the extent of change the new laws have on the industry.