Eight in ten Spaniards gambled in 2022

By Marese OHagan

Senior Reporter

An annual report compiled by CeJuego, Spain's Gaming Business Council, found that 83.9% of the Spanish population aged 18-75 participated in gambling in 2022.

The percentage represents 29.5 million people.

The report is based on CeJuego's Game and Society survey, which studies the gambling habits of adults in Spain. The 2023 edition found that although Spanish adults participate in gambling, they tend to take part in low-risk games that don't promise a high reward.

The survey found that 23.3 million people played national lotteries, ONCE games or La Quinela.

A total of 17.9% of Spaniards play games offered in casinos, gaming halls and bingo halls, and take part in sports betting. This equates to 6.3 million people. The report emphasised that this is far below, for example, the number who said they go to the theatre in their leisure time – 24.5%.

However, this is higher than those who said they take part in painting at 16.1% and almost double the percentage of people who play musical instruments – 9.6%.

Alejandro Landaluce, general director of CeJuego said that people are able to participate in gambling with a similar level of interest to other activities.

“Users maintain the same relationship with the game that they can have with the practice of other forms of leisure.”

Averse to gambling

According to the report, 5.6 million people did not gamble at all in 2022.

The survey also found that 15%-20% of Spaniards are reluctant to gamble. CeJuego said this is due to a number of factors, including religious reasons and fear of losing money. This also encompasses young people under the age of 25 and those living in low-income homes.

Elsewhere, 14.3% of men surveyed reported partaking in the National Lottery on a weekly basis in 2022 – which covers both Thursdays and Sundays. This compares to 12.3% of women surveyed.

Of the El Niño Lottery – a lottery that takes place on 6 January each year – the number of men and women who take part has been split fairly evenly over the last three years. Over 2020, 2021 and 2022, 49.6% of women took part compared to 50.4% of men. The report noted that El Niño is played by a “very high percentage of those who have financial problems or delays in paying mortgages, rent, consumer loans or household supplies”.

Return to normality after Covid-19

CeJuegos also reported that Spain's gambling industry has returned to normal after the restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the pandemic, Spain made the decision to temporarily restrict gambling advertising, with ads only permitted on TV and radio between 1am and 5am each day. This came after the country’s gambling regulator La Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) reported an increase in gambling activity during the lockdowns.

The ban was in place from April 2020 to June 2020.

CeJuegos' report found that levels of gambling activity had increased compared to 2020 and 2021 – the years primarily affected by the pandemic. In 2020, 80.9% of Spaniards participated in some form of gambling. This crept up, with the number reaching 82.4% in 2021 and ultimately 83.9% in 2022.

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