As further tier-1 operators emphasise regulated market growth, can the Spanish market deliver solid business conditions and long-term value for industry stakeholders?
SBC speaks to Daniel Graetzer, executive director at Mediatech Solutions (R Franco Group) an industry technology supplier founded in Spain, on how the Spanish market is developing and becoming an attractive proposition to new players.
SBC: Hi Daniel, great to catch up ahead of BOF 2017, Spain has had a rocky transition in its industry regulations can you detail to SBC readers how Spain has developed as a gambling market?
Daniel Graetzer: Hi SBC, great to catch up…The Spanish online gambling experienced a record-breaking year in 2016 in terms of revenues and turnover last year. Sportsbook revenue rose 32% on the previous year to €238.2m, while casino revenues enjoyed an even greater boost of 73% on 2015 figures following the addition of online slots to the permitted product verticals.
The Spanish regulator, the DGOJ, has worked very hard to create an appealing jurisdiction and the result is many in Europe are now taking notice of the Spanish market for the first time, with annual turnover of more than €10bn and revenues of more than €400m. The figures represent strong progress for a market that only regulated in 2012.
SBC: Is the Spanish market a genuine prospect for industry stakeholders, or does the reality of business and its regulations point towards a limited oligopoly of players having success in the market?
DG: The Spanish market is now simply too big to ignore, if recent financial figures are anything to go by. That’s not to say success in Spain is easy, far from it, as the market is becoming increasingly more competitive and there is still a sizeable number of players who still bet offshore.
However, Spain has yet to reach the maturity that we have seen in the UK and Scandinavia, and there are definitely opportunities for operators who can bring innovation and agility to the market.
The recent appointment of Juan Espinosa Garcia, who has worked at the DGOJ since 2013, as the new director general of the regulator is another encouraging sign in this process, and I expect the jurisdiction to continue to perform strongly under his stewardship.
SBC: As an industry platform provider, how has R Franco set up its resources and capabilities to function within the unique Spanish gambling market?
DG: For us, it’s important to have a flexible platform that can adapt to and comply with the demands of the local market, whether that be player preferences or regulatory requirements. It is simply not enough to roll out one-size-fits-all solutions in a market as vibrant as Spain.
Since Mediatech Solutions was acquired by R Franco, the combined group can now boast a great deal of land-based heritage as well as cutting-edge digital expertise, which is a potent combination in this multi-channel age. We are continuing to develop a host of new products that utilise this expertise, and many will be industry firsts in Spain.
SBC: As a Spanish industry stakeholder, what unique market consumer trends and habits do you see within the Spain’s gambling market. What unique features should new market entrants be aware of?
DG: I believe operators who integrate a flexible platform, run by those with local expertise that will allow them to market effectively, adapt the user experience and prioritise the product offering based on demand and regulation, will flourish in the market. We saw this in action when online slots were licensed for the first time in 2015.
Ultimately, it will be those who understand the intricacies of the region who build market share, with those who attempt to roll out ‘one-size-fits-all’ products unlikely to gain much traction.
SBC: How do you see the Spanish market evolving in the coming years. What core challenges and debate need to drive the Spanish industry agenda to ensure growth and stability?
DG: I think the future is bright for the market, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of Europe’s major operators make moves in Spain in the coming months and years.
With a solid and evolving regulatory framework in place, the challenge facing Spanish gaming now is to push forward innovation across areas such as server-based retail gaming, where we are now able to create a full omni-channel experience, and expand into new verticals such as virtual sports.
SBC: You will be speaking at BOF 2017 on the Spanish betting market, what do you want delegates to take away from your session?
DG: Of course, I want them to enjoy the session! I suppose the key point is that the Spanish market is here to stay, and there’s huge opportunities for growth from operators who decide to enter the market, provided they are willing to be agile and innovative.
Daniel Graetzer – Executive Director at Mediatech Solutions, R.Franco Group
Daniel Graetzer will be speaking at Betting on Football Conference () on Spanish and Latin America market prospects and developments. Click on the below banner for more information.