While the overwhelming majority of online gambling operators find the regulated French market an impossible place to do business, it’s a different story when, like Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU), you (still) hold a de facto monopoly on certain sectors. In the first six months of 2012, PMU saw turnover rise 3.9% to €5.293b, while gross gaming revenue rose 2.8% to €1.275b. Horseracing continues to be the engine of PMU’s business, contributing €4.962b (+1.7%) in turnover and €1.252b (+2.2%) of GGR, but sports betting was another bright spot, especially online. Online sports bets rose 76% to €86m, leading PMU to claim to be second only to market leader BetClic. Growth was spurred by Euro 2012 but also by a 27% rise in wagers at the 2012 French Open tennis tournament. If that wasn’t enough, online poker sales rose 45% to €251.3m, consolidating PMU’s position as market leader. Just too bad every online operator can’t be a former French monopoly.
Euro 2012 was also good for Central and Eastern European operator Fortuna, which had the foresight to launch the first licensed online betting site in Poland, one of the footie festival’s host nations. The company also had the sense to offer to pay half of the state-imposed 12% wagering tax for the duration of the tournament. While the official figures won’t be released until Wednesday, Fortuna marketing director Vladan Crha told Gambling Compliance that the result was a “record breaking” turnover in Poland – nearly twice the total wagered in Slovakia, traditionally a much bigger market for Fortuna.
Fortuna walked away from the Croatian market in 2011, but Fortuna’s loss is Intralot’s gain. Hrvatska Lutrija, the Croatian state lottery, has selected Intralot as its strategic partner for its new iCasino project following an international tender process. Hrvatska Lutrija and Intralot have been doing business since 2009, and in 2011, Intralot began supplying technology for keno and other online lottery games. Now, Intralot Interactive, together with Microgaming, will provide hardware and software to offer online slots, table games, poker and bingo. The deal is for four years, during which the partners will jointly manage the project on a shared-profit basis.