Since the French market opened up in April last year the gambling industry has watched on in horror as the exorbitant tax rates have made it a very difficult place to operate. Think of the underwater levels on the Sonic the Hedgehog video game on expert difficulty and you might have an idea of how hard it is to turn a profit.
Then, surely Française Des Jeux (FDJ) should be congratulated and feted on their impressive set of results, non? Well it’s true that they’ve seen online sports wagering double from €43m in 2009, to €91m last year but when you look back at some of the predictions made back in November, you will start to realize this isn’t so unbelievable.
The owner of a 50% stake in the BetClic Everest Group, Stephane Courbit, agreed with the idea that FDJ and Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) have a clear advantage in the French market, and was also openly critical of the French regime. Whether it’s completely down to the staunch loyalty of the French or just that the two know all the in’s and out’s, it’s clear they’re succeeding in their home country right now.
If you believe what chairman Christophe Blanchard-Dignac said early last year, the acquisition of betting software provider LVS may well have been the masterstroke they needed. Giggling as he rolled on a bed of €100 notes, Dignac explained that getting it sorted before regulation and the World Cup was very astute indeed.
Although figures showing how well they did during the tournament haven’t yet been released, it’s safe to say they fared better than the national soccer team.