Spain’s 42 casinos saw turnover decline 18 percent in 2008, according to the Asociación Española de Casinos de Juego, a trade group representing 30 of the nation’s privately operated casinos.
The downturn places in sharp relief the impact the global recession has had on consumer spending in Spain
In the previous year casino handle increased by 3.7 percent to â¬2.5 billion, boosted by the opening of a new property in the province of Huesca. Visitation was up 4 percent to 3.8 million. Gross gaming revenues topped â¬557 million.
Permissible games include French and American roulette, blackjack, baccarat, poker, Punto Banco, Pai Gow and various Máquinas de Azar (mechanical- and video-reel slot machines, video poker and roulette and electronic multiplayer games).
Prior to the recession, Spaniards were spending more than â¬30 billion a year on all forms of land-based gambling, most of it (61 percent) operated by the private sector.
This represented a 4.1 percent increase year-over-year in 2007. The commercial sector, which includes casino gambling, bingo and arcade-style machine gambling, accounted for more than â¬17 billion of the total spend and generated revenues of â¬9.85 billion.
The region surrounding the capital city of Madrid is the country’s most significant gambling market, both in terms of overall spend and spend per capita. It was followed in 2007 by Murcia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands, which includes Mallorca.
The environment for the traditional bingo sector, on the other hand, continues to be challenging. The volume of play declined 3.6 percent in 2007, despite the closure of 18 venues during the year, and revenues were similarly down about 3 percent to â¬1.36 billion.
However, there were signs that prior to the onset of the recession in 2008 the sector was beginning to adjust to changing market forces and stabilize its performance. Overall bingo wagering surpassed â¬3.69 billion in 2007, a decline of only 0.8 percent, compared with a drop of 4 percent from 2005 to 2006.
The public gambling sector, consisting of four lotteries and football pools operated by Loterías y Apuestas del Estado (L.A.E.), plus the multinational Euromillions lottery, generated â¬9.64 billion in sales in 2007.
The traditional lottery O.N.C.E. (Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles) generated â¬2.14 billion in sales, with profits dedicated to aiding the blind and visually impaired.
Statistics supplied by the Annual Gaming Report released by the Gaming Area of Spain’s Directorate-General for Studies and Institutional Relations.