The COVID-19 era may be hurting businesses around the world, but online poker continues to thrive. The latest region to see a surge in activity due to local lockdowns is Spain.
According to the latest report from Spain’s Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling, Q2 was a record quarter.
With much of the country forced into quarantine due to COVID-19, year-on-year revenue for Q2 was almost double what it was in 2019.
Record Quarter for Online Poker
A 48% spike for online poker at the end of Q1 (March) carried over into the summer months. With all parts of Spain forced into lockdown on March 14, online activity increased. By March 29, all non-essential workers were told to stay at home for 14 days.
These initial safety measures kept people indoors and online poker became a primary source of entertainment for some. Although restrictions have since been eased, outdoor interactions have been far lower than normal.
As such, Spanish online poker revenue spiked in April and May by 170% and 101%, respectively. June saw activity levels drop, though traffic was still up 21% year-on-year. This overall increase in activity pushed Q2 revenue to €38.2 million/$44.3 million.
€12.6 million/$14.6 million of that came from cash games, while €25.6 million/$29.6 million was tournament revenue. The gains mean poker accounted for 18% of all online betting and gaming income in Q2. What’s more, it was a record for the sector.
Spain Follows European Poker Trend
Spain’s online poker industry has followed the same pattern witnessed elsewhere in Europe. Just as revenue spiked in the UK, France, and other regions during lockdown, it’s now starting to drop.
With the Spanish government recently declaring a state of emergency and a new series of local lockdowns in place, online poker revenue could rise again. Indeed, while news of more restrictions has led to protests across the country, the data suggests it will be a boon for operators.
A global pandemic is never a cause for celebration, but the positive impact restrictions have had on online poker can’t be ignored. Spain’s gaming industry has struggled to gain much traction since regulations were introduced in 2011.
Liquidity sharing pacts with France and Italy have helped increase traffic at Spanish poker sites. However, without access to players in other regions, such as the UK, activity hasn’t topped what it was pre-regulation.
The COVID-19 crisis is hurting Spain just as much as other countries, but with people looking to stay safe at home, online poker operators have found a positive among the negatives.