An online marketer's guide to understanding the Spanish gaming market.

SPAIN HAS become the latest major European market to open its doors to online gaming, following in the footsteps of the UK, France and Italy. The regulatory and market details have been covered in detail in the preceding pages of this special report, and here, we will attempt to decipher some of the more pressing demographic trends and data sets that will affect those businesses looking to successfully market into this rich consumer landscape.

First, a bit of background...

The first casino to be awarded an online licence was the Casino Gran Madrid on May 17. 2011. In 2006 and 2007, Madrid had already granted land-based casinos the right to offer online bingo and allowed gamblers to submit bets online; however, Casino Gran Madrid is the first casino which has been allowed to offer an actual online casino.

Nevertheless, it seems that the legalisation of online gambling in Spain will develop in stages, and we can expect the first significant demonstration of what we forecast to be 'massive' growth, as early December of this year.

In terms of the demographic, 38 percent of Spain's 44 million citizens have access to the Internet via a fixed line connection, but they also have one of the largest mobile communication markets in Europe. It is estimated that 64 percent of mobile customers play games, versus 50 percent of Spain's citizens with a home connection.


If you have read previous OBAN Multilingual articles you may have noticed that localisation is our credo. It is crucial that you know the local search behaviour. Although the Spanish prefer to gamble online in their mother tongue, they tend to create their own hybrids when it comes to search terms.

We have put together the following example of common local search terms and their search volumes:


los juegos online 1,500,000
on line juegos 1,220,000
juegos de internet 201,000
todos los juegos de internet 201,000
juegos de internet online 90,500
juegos en linea de internet 60,500
juegos de internet en linea 60,500

It isn't only the gamblers themselves that appreciate localisation; the Spanish government has put the following restrictions into place for non-Spanish online gambling operators:

"All online gambling operators will have to operate through a '.es' domain. If an online user tries to connect from locations in Spain to externally hosted websites they will automatically be redirected to the government homepage. Furthermore, the government instructs that non-Spanish operators must have at least one permanent representative/agent in Spain."

Search engine market share

Looking at the search engine market share in Spain you will find that unlike in neighbouring major European countries such as Italy, Germany and France, where Google enjoys an average market share of 95 percent, its share in Spain is a slightly below that average at 91 percent, meaning that it's worth considering some strategies for the other nine percent that make up the market, particularly if you're doing very well.

Currently, it's evenly split between Yahoo! and Bing at around 4.5 percent each but, encouragingly, both of these engines have similar algorithms to Google so optimisation techniques don't have to be as diversified as they would if you were working with a Yandex or Seznam.

Market share?

Now that you have a website in Spanish, you may think that your SEO efforts in Spain should ultimately improve your rankings in Hispanic markets such as Colombia and Mexico. Your assumptions would be wrong.

You will receive some benefit from having Spanish content and maybe some anchor text links for identical terms used in other Spanish speaking markets, however, not at any significant level. Just like any SEO campaign, everything you are doing should be 'by country' and not 'by language' or 'region'. Also, don't forget that South America holds some of the world's largest gaming companies and operators, and its markets are competitive. You will not get far unless you build unique links in those countries and get unique content targeted to the unique market. Also, don't forget to set your geo targeting correctly in Webmaster Tools if you've pages/sites for those markets because thankfully for SEO, Google is also pretty dominant in South America.

So, with the above information in-hand, any online gambling provider or affiliate planning on entering the Spanish market should be able to grab the 'online gambling bull' right by the horns.
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