BUSINESS

France sets online sports betting records, racing shows signs of life

TAGs: arjel, France

france-online-sports-betting-records-racingFrance’s online sports betting market set new records for both turnover and revenue in the second quarter of 2017.

Figures released Wednesday by French gambling regulator ARJEL show sports betting turnover hitting €636m in the three months ending June 30, a 9% rise over the same period last year and a new quarterly record for the French market.

While the betting turnover growth was the smallest year-on-year percentage gain in nearly four years, Q2 2016 featured the Euro 2016 football tournament, which ran from June 10 to July 10. Notably, the apples-to-apples turnover gains in April and May were up 28% year-on-year.

As a result of those early gains, sports betting revenue hit €111m in Q2, up 22% year-on-year and another new market high as pre-bonus sports margins improved by 1.9 points. With the Euro 2016 customer acquisition frenzy a distant memory, bonus offers were down one-third year-on-year, pushing actual margins 3% higher year-on-year.

French women took another small bite out of the male share of sports betting activity, as the number of female sports bettors rose 5% to 80k in Q2, while male bettor numbers fell 4% to 808k. This trend has yet to replicate itself in France’s other online gambling verticals.

France’s beleaguered online horserace betting market showed signs of life in Q2, as turnover rose 9% year-on-year to €239m, the first such gains the sector has recorded in four years. The gains were largely due to race betting operators increasing their return to players by 1.1 points and weekly active race bettors improving by around 1%. Racing revenue improved 5% to €58m.

Even the online poker vertical got into the positive spirit, as revenue rose 5% year-on-year to €58.6m. As ever, poker tournaments performed better than cash games, but the gap narrowed in Q2. Tournament stakes were up 2% to €459m while revenue shot up 12% to €36.6m. Cash game stakes fell 0.4% to €850m while revenue fell by a mere €200k to €22m.

Poker bucked the trend displayed by the other verticals, as bonus offers to players were up nearly one-quarter year-on-year to €14.3m. However, it wasn’t enough to stem the decline in weekly active players, which fell 2% to 227k. As ever, cash games suffered a greater player decline, falling 6% to 65k, while the ranks of tournament players declined by 1%.

ARJEL announced this month that it hoped to begin sharing online poker liquidity with the regulated markets in Italy, Portugal and Spain by the end of the year. Last week, ARJEL released documentation on how its licensees can go about applying to participate in this grand experiment.

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