Spain’s Jdigital has released a report claiming a meaningful proportion of the country’s gamblers routinely visit the black market.
The report analysed the general knowledge and habits of the average online gambler and found that a not insignificant percentage of players either were unfamiliar with safer gaming or did not base their choices on it.
Trade group Jdigital represents a number of gambling companies and suppliers in the Spanish market. Its latest report surveyed 1,000 players back in April and was carried out by SigmaDos.
Nearly half of all players over the age of 60 (44.5 percent) reported that they had never seen the safe play logo. That figure is more than double the 20 percent of players aged 18 to 44 who said they were familiar with it.
Similarly, 65.7 percent of players above the age of 60 did not know how to determine the difference between a legal and illegal website. Once again, the number is less than half for players aged 18 to 29, at 27.6 percent.
In general, players reported that the number one thing they looked for when choosing a site to play on was an overall “feeling” of security, at 39.6 percent.
The second most was sites that had appealing promotions or bonuses, at 32.6 percent. Nearly 30 percent also looked for the safe gaming seal. Overall, 63 percent reported looking at the domain.
However, of those, 53 percent play on either dot.com domains exclusively (which are illegal) or both dot.com and dot.es domains (which are legal). Meanwhile, 30.3 percent of players use dot.es domains, which are legal.
Of that 53 percent, nearly half said their motivation was simply that they played on the sites with the games that they liked (46 percent) and nearly 30 percent said they played where their friends do. Nearly 35 percent reported that they used sites with higher prizes.
Alternatively, some players reported that they deliberately chose their gaming platforms to avoid scrutiny.
Nearly 17 percent said they played on a site “because they don’t remind me or mention issues related to responsible gaming”. A further 17.9 percent said their choice was based on the ability to spend or gamble without limits or restrictions.
Jorge Hinojosa, the director of Jdigital, expressed concern and dissatisfaction at the report's finding.
"More than half of the online gaming users in our country play .es and .com platforms interchangeably, which should worry the government as much as it worries the regulated sector. At this point, Jdigital can only claim the role of advertising as a tool for channelling players to licensed operators."
Spain introduced a near total ban on gambling advertising in 2020 and is preparing a new royal decree that will ramp up responsible gambling controls, including more interventions and a credit card ban for so-called “intensive players”.
“Guaranteeing a safe and responsible practice of online gaming in Spain is an objective shared by [gambling regulator] the DGOJ and the operators and we want the Royal Decree on Safe Gaming to enjoy a broad consensus and agreement in the sector,” said DGOJ director Mikel Arana, at the same event where the Jdigital survey was unveiled.
“For this reason, the DGOJ has been very open to the considerations and proposals presented and we will guarantee that the implementation of the measures is done with sufficient time for all the agents involved,” he said.
As part of the Jdigital report, a full 31 percent of players responded that they believed they may engage in problematic gaming behaviours.
More than a quarter of those surveyed (27.1 percent) said that they would seek help from a mental health professional if they thought they needed it, 22.8 percent said they would consult a player rehabilitation association, while 19 percent said they did not know what they would do.