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Horse racing plays “non-dismissible” role in Spain market growth

Horse racing has enjoyed 200% growth in the Spanish market in the last five years, from €21 million in 2013 to a “non-dismissible” €90 million in online turnover during 2017.

Online gaming revenue in Spain reached €560 million in 2017, with sports betting accounting for 55.57% of this figure. In play fixed odds and pre-event fixed odds betting made up most of the overall sports betting total, with 31.92% and 21.92% respectively, but horse racing came in third for betting with 1.04% of the revenues, well ahead of exchange betting and pool betting.

OPTIMA CEO Jacob Lopez said: “Even though it is still a low portion of the total, horse racing betting grew at 200% YOY and continuous growth is expected due to more available and accessible streaming from the UK/ROI in Spain. The volume of business for horse racing came in at a non-dismissible €90 million, for a player that is not as exposed to the sport as we find in other countries.”

Speaking at last week’s Betting on Football conference, Lopez also discussed the state of the retail market in Spain, which is bucking the trend in the UK by showing clear growth.

“While volumes of sports betting online vs retail are almost double, relative growth is still quite similar,” said Lopez. “The online licences have requirements for high operator economic warranties to be given to the government. Bundled with the inability to create white labels online and the lower use of online payments by the Spanish consumers compared to the UK market, this gives a bigger chance to the retail operators to continue growing.”

However, the CEO for OPTIMA, whose head office is based in Sevilla, admitted that retail betting will ultimately have its growth constrained by an acceleration of the online market, the number of locations and accessibility of the product.

He added: “The online market is growing around 35% YOY. We have to consider the Spanish market shape, regarding regulations and the fact that it is a relatively new online market, which is completely different to the situation in the UK. Just compare total number of active players vs registrations between the two countries, and we clearly see there is still growth to be seen for the next few years.

“The new regulations in different regions (online licences in Spain are mostly central, while retail is regional) permits growth, yet retail will have a limit as it is constrained by the number of locations and a much less accessible product.

“In play betting is capturing around 32% of the revenues; clearly this is not the case in the retail business where the amounts of bets captured in play requires the customers to access a terminal or a cashier, whilst the availability of those is limited and customers must queue.”

Lopez, who predicted that the number of new licensees to emerge from the ongoing 12-month licensing window in the country would be between 14 and 15, concluded by suggesting that OPTIMA’s iSHOP product could alleviate some of these retail constraints.

With our new iSHOP product, the customers can bet with their own mobile/tablets while inside the venue,” said Lopez. “We hope that retail can maintain growth by applying innovation and new technology such as this to the market.”

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