looking ahead

R. Franco Group’s CMO, Rubén Loeches, gives GIO his take on the future of the Spanish market.

GIO: Once Spain returns from its hiatus, how do you see the market playing out in 2020? What is the possible impact of the latest restrictions? RL: I believe the latest round of measures will usher in a return to the previous situation we saw in the early 2010s, when the Spanish regulated market was still in its infancy. From a marketing perspective, what that means is a return to  to key routes for online player acquisition. Retention and loyalty have, of course, always been important, but with the latest regulatory developments, I  research into a competitors’ offering gets harder. Combined  increase exponentially, it’s clear that customer loyalty and boosting retention rates has to become priority number one for operators once the industry gets back to normal.

The arrival of Generation Z is going to make the Spanish market far more


GIO: As a consequence of these recent restrictions and the current hiatus, do expect the market to get smaller as a result? RL: It will almost certainly contract – the question is, by how much. The recent tightening of advertising regulations, and the negative press attention that comes with it, naturally makes the Spanish market less attractive to international companies. Growth will be slowed by a reduction in the number of operators applying for a licence in the Spanish market.

GIO: And as a Spanish gaming veteran, what’s your take on the market’s evolving challenges? RL: As a market stakeholder, I’m delighted to see the DGOJ (the Spanish regulator) taking its responsibilities, such as player protection and underage gambling, very seriously. Alongside, any measure aimed at streamlining and optimising approval processes (especially for avoiding fraud and ensuring responsible gaming) should be applauded, as they’re the in the best interests of the industry.

Of course, to an outsider, the market may look prohibitive with Spain’s latest government in power, but I assure you it’s not. As tradition dictates, the political situation in Spain is never easy; combined with the same overbearing media pressure that we’ve seen here, as well as Italy and the UK, and you’ve got a recipe for demonisation. However, like all challenges, there are also plenty of opportunities to capitalise on.

At the end of the day, there’s always going to opportunity here. Given the Spanish passion for sport and gaming, and everything that comes with it, Spain certainly remains a lucrative market. Getting that big win is part of our culture (just look at our approach to sport), and it’s not going to change. Spain offers fantastic potential for operators, and not only for the domestic market, but also the credentials it has as a gateway to the LatAm region.

GIO: And once the market returns to business as usual, what do you see as changing? RL: The arrival of Generation Z is going to make the Spanish market far more dynamic with their diverse range of preferences, none more so than when it comes to eSports. Close to 10% of the country’s population are avid eSports fans, and if you want to see a test ground for a betting vertical still in its infancy, then look no further!

When it comes, to marketing, we’ve seen plenty of emphasis on major operators channelling their budgets into TV and radio (along with sponsorships), but with that all set to change, it’s time to get inventive.

For any new operators looking to take advantage (of which I can assure you there are plenty), my recommendation is to re-develop more specialised and metric-based marketing plans. I suggest a measured approach, think much more where you invest your money, be much more strict with the  sources, and above all, give much more value of the leads that you can get or have achieved in the different phases of a customer’s life.

 hindering the market’s recovery? RL: Not at all. The opportunity is here for all to see. The DGOJ has left plenty of doors open for operators to explore, and see I expect to see the market return to many of the practices that were typical when the industry was still in its early days. Key here will be too look for new business niches and make the most of every euro invested. Welcome bonuses may be on their way out, but there’s a solid case for diverting your resources into promoting customer loyalty once they’re acquired by new players.

Alongside, digital marketing is set to be another essential metric, and those who want to succeed here under the  social networks, as well as taking into account content-rich messaging. Opportunities such as these are proof that no operator should lose heart. Yes, the DGOJ may seem heavy-handed, but they’ve got a job to do. Of course, these regulatory tailwinds will certainly necessitate operators and suppliers to rethink their strategies, but given our famous passion for sport and gaming, and everything that comes with it, there will always be plenty to capitalise on here.

48 MAY/JUNE 2020 GIO

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