France’s online gambling market took a slight dip in the second quarter of 2015, despite a surge in sports betting activity.
Figures released on Tuesday by French gaming regulator ARJEL showed total online wagering falling 0.4% to €1.945b, while gross gaming revenue fell 0.1% to €180.3m. The tepid performance helped drag down the H1 numbers, during which stakes and revenue fell 1% and 1.5% respectively.
The declines came despite a boost in sports betting activity, which saw the vertical overtake horseracing as the top earner. Last year’s Q2 enjoyed a surge courtesy of the FIFA World Cup, but Q2 2015 saw sports betting stakes rise 18% to €338m and betting revenue was up 7% to €63m.
To compensate for this quarter’s lack of a marquee sporting event, operators offered players increased bonuses, which took a bite out of profits but helped boost average weekly active accounts by 5% to 187k.
Horseracing saw turnover and revenue each slip 3% to €248m and €61m respectively. This marks the first time since the market regulated in 2010 in which racing has taken a back seat to sports betting.
Online poker continued to struggle, with overall revenue slipping 2% to €56.3m. Tournament stakes rose 16% to €421m but cash games slipped another 10% to €938m.
TENNIS, BASKETBALL DRINKING FOOTBALL’S MILKSHAKE
Despite the absence of a World Cup, betting on football rose 5% to €189.1m in Q2 2015, thanks in part to an increase in the number of matches played in major draws like the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and France’s Ligue 1 and Ligue 2.
While football stakes were up, even bigger gains in other verticals meant football’s share of total sports turnover fell seven points to 56%, the lowest number in two years.
Tennis was the primary culprit in football’s decline, as its share of overall turnover rose six points to 26% as tennis betting stakes rose 53% to €87.6m. Basketball also enjoyed a significant gain, with stakes rising 38% to €30.2m, representing 9% of the overall betting pie.
Live betting helped some sports more than others, with in-play wagers representing 61% of tennis turnover and 54% for basketball, compared to just 32% for football.
In total, mobile and tablet wagering accounted for 47% of all sports wagering, rising to 52% for bettors between 18 to 34 years old. Mobile’s share of racing turnover was just 35%, which ARJEL blamed on the relative age of horse bettors and the fact that the vertical isn’t currently authorized to offer in-play wagering.