While lockdown has hurt the economy in Spain and across the world amid the covid-19 pandemic, the gambling industry has continued to thrive.
Spain is blessed with some fantastic casinos in the world, offering beautiful views and great places to drink and dine for those who enjoy gambling.
But with people unable to visit their favourite places during lockdown and having more time to spend at home as a result of the restrictions caused by the global pandemic, more players have come to experience the thrill of betting on their phones without having to leave the sofa.
According to figures released by the Direccion General de Ordenacion del Juego, locally licensed online operators raked in almost €218m in the three months of the year up to March 31, representing a rise of 12.5% on the same period last year and a 17.6% rise in the last quarter of 2019.
Spanish people gamble an estimated €1.9bn every year and the gambling industry worldwide is predicted to be worth 66.7 billion by the end of 2020, a rise of 13.2%.
Over half of the online market in Spain is made up of sports betting but with games and events across the world being called off during the first wave of the virus, people have been exploring mobile casinos.
Online casinos revenue for the first three months of the year rose by 12.5% to €78m.
There has been a huge rise in people taking up table games with online roulette proving particularly popular. Live roulette generated €18.4m, a rise of 35.6% with the traditional form of the game growing by 16.7% to €10.7m.
The centuries-old game is vying to be the most popular casino game and there are so many different games that can be played for free for real money.
Poker revenue also increased by 13.1% to €24.2m.
The growth of cryptocurrency Bitcoin is also playing a part in the increase of gambling with payments settled in less than 10 minutes.
Affiliate marketing is also up by 1% and if Spain reduces licences for online casinos, the mobile gambling industry could grow even further.
The trend is expected to continue as the public face new restrictions amid a second wave of coronavirus.
With Madrid having 735 of covid-19 cases per 100,000 people, the borders have been closed with residents unable to leave the city except for essential trips. There is also a new curfew of 11pm for restaurants and bars, with playgrounds and public parks closed and social gatherings limited to six people.
Spain had one of the strictest lockdowns in the world earlier in the year when the spread of the virus was increasing rapidly and imposed temporary restrictions between March and June on gambling advertising.
This meant that bonuses, discounts, free bets and bet multiplier offers were banned, along with advertising by email and social media.
Advertising could only be broadcast on TV between 1am and 5am each day and, although these restrictions have been lifted, they are to be replaced by new measures announced in February that will include no references to promotions or bonuses, endorsements from public figures and marketing products as a route to winning.
Acquisition bonuses will also be capped at €100 and it is these strict policies which means it is unlikely to reach the levels of USA, which has the world’s biggest online gambling market.
Despite this, there is plenty of evidence that mobile gambling will continue to grow in Spain.