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Spain’s Loterias Looking at Gambling Expansion and Consolidation

2 June 2011 by admin

That might sound a bit contradictory, to be expanding and consolidating at the same time, but is what is happening in the home of Don Quixote. And really the consolidation part is not just limited to Spain.

Overseas there is a movement to internationally consolidate the gambling industry, and Spain wants to be a part of it. But there is one teeny, tiny problem. Spain’s lottery and mostly monopoly on things gambling in Spain, the Sociedad Estatal de Loterias y Apuestas del Estado, belongs to the Spanish government. Oops, cannot really work on consolidation if a government body owns it; that might lead to some sticky spots down the road to the tune of ‘That government is trying to influence and run this international gambling consolidation.’ Not to worry though, Spain is handling it. The Loterias is being privatized.

It is this privatization that is leading the gambling expansion for Spain. The idea is to get bigger to not only have a more weight to throw around but to also create a more enticing gambling market for Spaniards. This is something the new head of Loterias, Aurelio Martinez, understands: “It is clear that size is important in gaming.” This was said at a conference in Madrid where he discussed plans of Loterias to expand. The idea as he explained it is that those who gamble are more turned on by a larger prize; the larger the prize, the more people who put in for a chance to win it. However, only big gambling companies can offer big prizes. Martinez’s idea is to expand the gambling abilities and offerings of Loterias in order to be more competitive and more desirable to Spaniards.

But Martinez is not only looking at land-based or lottery based gambling. He also has eyes for online gambling. Right now the online casinos and other forms of online gambling in Spain only pulled in €600 million ($863.5 million). That is only a fraction of the €30 billion Spanish gambling market. But if the rest of the world is any indication, online gambling will grow in Spain too. Already this year we have seen Madrid award its first online gambling license. Outside of the country Italian, French and Dutch governments are moving forward with online gambling measures in their countries. It is only a matter of time before online casinos catch on in Spain, and Martinez is of the mind to make sure that Spain is ready.

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