Online poker in Spain recorded its best year on record in 2018 with operators in the market generating €81.8 million in revenue.
By the end of Q3, online poker revenue in Spain had already surpassed the amount collected in all of each of the three previous years. The previous high-water mark was achieved in 2013, the first full year after regulations were enacted, when the market collected €67.8 million. Operators blew past that peak last year by more than 20%.
The impressive annual growth for poker coincides with the advent of shared liquidity with France and Portugal.
A closer look at 2018 shows that growth in revenue from poker tournaments outpaced the growth in cash games, with tournaments registering 44% year-over-year growth while their ring game counterparts rose 26%.
Poker tournament revenue first outgained cash game revenue in Q3 2015, and though the two formats remained close for the next couple of quarters, tournaments have been consistently drawing in more revenue since, with revenue from tournaments in Q4 2018 representing 63% more than cash games.
The impact of shared liquidity is even more apparent when looking at the year-over-year performance of each quarter of 2018 individually. While 2017 saw each quarter post modest annual gains (the highest being 6.3%), the lowest quarter in 2018 (Q2) posted a 34.8% increase over the year prior.
Though cash games saw less growth in 2018 than tournaments, the difference was enough to move the revenue figures into annual growth on a quarterly basis, reversing a trend of year-over-year declines that existed for almost the entire duration of the regulated market. And the change was significant with the swing exceeding 30% in every quarter during 2018.
Q4 also marked the third consecutive quarter in which cash games grew in proportion to tournaments.
Shared liquidity apparently also had a positive influence on the number of newly registered igaming accounts. In 2018 there was only one quarter in which the number of new accounts did not surpass all other quarters on record, and during that quarter (Q3), only 2% fewer people created new accounts than the highest volume quarter prior to 2018.