Public Release: 

1 of every 4 euros that is gambled in Spain goes to the government

The first Yearbook of Gaming in Spain

Carlos III University of Madrid


IMAGE: Almost a quarter of the money spent on gambling is returned to society in the form of taxes or direct contributions to the Government. This is one of the conclusions... view more

Credit: UC3M

This press release is available in Spanish.

Of the over 96 billion euros gambled in Spain every year, approximately 64 billion are transferred to society in the form of taxes or contributions to the national government or the Autonomous Communities, social contributions (e.g. social security), intellectual property rights, income and contributions to a variety of social entities. These data can be drawn from the first Yearbook of Gaming in Spain, which was recently presented by UC3M's Institute for Policy and Governance (Instituto de Política y Gobernanza - IPOLGOB) with support from the Fundación CODERE.

The Yearbook of Gaming 2011/12 gathers statistics on gambling in Spain since 1977, with information from the provinces and autonomous communities since 2006. Each chapter contains information on the volume of gambling, geographic distribution, the profile of the players, the amount gambled per capita, commercial networks, installations (casinos, bingo halls, gambling halls and arcade and gambling machines) and on-line webs (concessions, webs and composition of capital), the relationship between the quantities gambled and the global market, the impact on tourism, tree diagrams of the regulations, business models of the games and data by public and private operators, as well as the gambling industry's contribution to society (employment, taxes, social contributions, etc.).

A sector in crisis

This nearly 300-page volume deals with the social and economic dimensions of gambling. In 2011 approximately 26.388 billion euros were gambled in Spain, which equals 2.6 percent of the GDP, a figure that is nearly 20 percent lower than the figure for 2008. "The gambling sector is suffering the impact of the economic crisis"¬, explains the Director of the Yearbook, José Antonio Gómez Yáñez, a professor in UC3M's Department of Political Science and Sociology. The apparent yearly expenditure per inhabitant is 559.16 €, although, if only the potential gambling population is considered, the figure increases to 758.74 € per inhabitant aged 18 to 75 /year.

9 out of 10 people bet

Who moves these quantities of money? According to the study Percepción Social del Juego de Azar en España (the Social Perception of Games of Chance in Spain), 63.8 percent of people from 18 to 75 participated in some game of chance regularly during 2011 and 88.8 percent have participated at least once. The communities where the most money was gambled were Madrid (4.2 billion euros), Catalonia (4 billion euros), Andalusia (3.7 billion euros) and Valencia (3.1 billion euros).

Gambling creates jobs

This study shows the gambling industry's role in creating employment; almost 170,000 jobs are generated indirectly, not including those generated by on-line gambling. In 2008 the number of jobs generated even rose to 209,000, indicating that the sector has lost approximately 40,000 jobs in the last five years.

Over 3000 pages of laws

Another conclusion reached by this study is that in-person gambling is an overregulated activity. Because the authority to regulate gambling was transferred to the autonomous communities, the national market has become fragmented. Thus, there are now 17 different markets, in which technical and legal aspects and processes, as well as tax systems, are different. The current legislation takes up 3,200 pages. "Fiscal regulations are different in each of the 17 autonomous communities, which leads to differences in taxation which are difficult to explain, and a tax burden that is making the survival of part of the in-person sector unviable in several communities," comments Professor José Antonio Gómez Yañez. "Furthermore," he adds, "the fiscal and technical regulations change very quickly."

A reliable source

Until now, information on gambling in Spain had been dispersed throughout different publications and many data on the sector had remained hidden or scattered. The data presented in this yearbook are based on information from several sources: the Interior Ministry, the Treasury, the National Lottery and Betting office, the ONCE Foundation (National Organization for the Blind, which runs a lottery), autonomous communities, employers' organizations and different sector associations, etc. As for the qualitative part of the study, the information there is gleaned from personal interviews with experts on the subject and people who are responsible for gambling policy. "We wanted to contribute to transparency in the gambling industry and its activities and to provide the public with a publication in which all of the data on the sector are condensed, making it reference that is completely reliable," explains UC3M emeritus professor José Ignacio Case, a member of the IPOLGOB, in the introduction to the volume.


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