Spain, the gateway to Latin America
Spain, the gateway to Latin America
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As seen on Gaming Intelligence.

The excitement might lie in Latin America but for many companies, Spain is a vital first step on its journey. Relax Gaming's Senior Business Development Manager Alba Monroy discusses the opportunity this region presents.

In 2020, the 'pandemic year', online gaming grew 15 per cent - how much of this was land-based players looking for new entertainment during lockdown?

AM: Casino online grew 5 per cent in 2020, with almost 1.5 million active players - an increase of more than 8 per cent, year-on-year. This is mainly due to the growth in the uptake of online slots, which we’ve thankfully proven to be a key part of during Spain’s online development. 

As a major player, we believe this upward trend will continue despite Spanish gaming regulation becoming increasingly strict almost every year since 2011, when online casino was first regulated in Spain. Everything indicates that the pandemic - and the related closure of land-based casinos - has helped the online casino business grow, and we expect plenty to stick around now they’ve been introduced to the world of online.

Spain is already a mature market for online gaming. Where is the 'growing margin' right now and why?

AM:I believe the key to growth in the Spanish market currently lies in having a good platform with powerful marketing tools and a localised product offering. Naturally, giving a good service to operators is also essential. We’ve done some great work here across the Spanish market.

In the same vein, feedback from operators that we work closely with has enabled us to improve our localised products and services even further, so it’s critically important to work very closely with our native partners, especially given the forthcoming additional restrictions and regulations, which we’re here to help mitigate.

Name the main factors of interest in Spain for your company.

AM:The numbers speak for themselves - the industry has grown a lot in the last couple of years, as has the number of providers entering Spain. This has created a really diverse level of products and offerings, which has done well to help expand the market and capture the interest of the new generation of player. Moreover, I believe we’re looking at an emerging generation of players that are even more enticed by premium online content – and are loyal enough to keep returning if the games from a particular provider prove fun and engaging.

We also have to take into consideration that Spain and some Latin American countries share quite a few culturally similarities, not only in language but also in terms of the player profile. So, we are confident that entering Spain will help us expand even more in LatAm and other markets, for this reason, we see our operations here as an insightful learning opportunity.

What do you think about the current advertising restrictions on the Spanish market? How to deal with them?

AM:Any measure that can heavily impact the profitability of your business negatively is not going to be welcomed – but of course, perseverance and thinking differently is what has made grow from strength-to-strength in recent years – and we’re not about to slow down.

The way we see it, with player acquisition being so dramatically affected, operators must instead focus on marketing alternatives, as well as their product range, games offering and customer retention activities. We’ve got an armoury of tools and features that can provide for this and more, and we’re ready to help.

Do you see Spain as a gate for the growing LatAm market as well or not?

AM:As things stand, a number of Spanish companies have entered LatAm markets or are thinking of expanding there and I see no sign of that changing.

More and more LatAm countries are regulating online gaming, and this is attracting attention from companies that want to be the first to gain a licence in these exciting new markets. For instance, the regulation model in Colombia is very similar to the Spanish one and it is also a template for other LatAm gaming commissions. As a result, I see Colombia being a great springboard as a first market of entrance for many of Europe’s leading suppliers eyeing the region.

For Relax, thanks to a largely familiar regulatory environment and the similarities in customer profile, launching in Spain and demonstrating that we can grow in this market will definitely help us when entering LatAm – and we look forward to announcing updates on this topic in due time.