French online sports betting posts biggest growth in eight years


france-world-cup-online-sports-betting-recordFrance’s online sports betting market posted its biggest growth in eight years thanks to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Figures released Friday by France’s online gambling regulator ARJEL show the nation’s online sports betting licensees handled wagers totaling €995m in the three months ending September 30. That’s just shy of the €1.002b reported in Q2 but an 81% improvement over Q3 2018 and the biggest year-on-year gain since the regulated market’s launch in 2010.

Sports betting revenue totaled €149m in Q3, a 40% rise over Q3 2017, as average weekly sports bettors shot up 84% to 553k thanks to the second half of the World Cup. All told, wagering on the 14 World Cup matches from July 1 amounted to €163.7m, roughly 16% of Q3’s total betting handle.

The tournament’s final match between France and Croatia generated betting turnover of €38.5m, the highest single-match total in the regulated market’s history, demolishing the previous record of €12.7m during the final match of the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament.

The World Cup had a knock-on effect on Q3’s other wagering, which grew 51% year-on-year, a higher rate than that recorded in the first half of 2018. France’s domestic football Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 reported turnover up 40% and 53%, respectively, while the English Premier League (+68%) Spain’s La Liga (+40%) and Italy’s Serie A (+51%) also enjoyed serious boosts.

Tennis remains France’s second-biggest wagering sport, and turnover nearly doubled in Q3 to €258.4m despite Wimbledon occurring at the same time as the World Cup. In fact, the only sport not to report a Q3 gain was basketball, which slumped 36% to €15m.

France’s online horserace betting market was also in positive territory for the quarter, with wagers up 4% to €254m, revenue up 6% to €63m and weekly average bettors rising 4% to 132k.

Finally, online poker continued to benefit from shared liquidity with Spain and Portugal, as cash game stakes shot up 13% to just a hair over €1b in Q3, while tournament fees improved 7% to €528m. Overall online poker revenue gained 3% to €59m.

The cash game growth represented an improvement on the 9% growth in Q2 but failed to match the 18% rise reported in Q1. Similarly, tournament growth failed to match either the 14% in Q1 or 10% in Q2. Overall poker revenue also fell short of Q2’s €60m, primarily due to cash game revenue falling 9% year-on-year as operators’ bonus offers shot up 44% year-on-year.