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France’s regulated online gambling market saw first quarter revenue grow by 28 per cent year-on-year, driven predominantly by an increase in active players across all verticals.
Figures released at the beginning of this week by the French gaming regulator ARJEL show the country’s licensed online sports betting operators handled wagers worth €847m in the three months ending March 31, a 34% rise over the same period last year and a new record for online betting handle since the regulated market launched in 2010.
Online betting revenue fared even better, rising 55% year-on-year to €147m – another quarterly record – thanks to favorable sporting results that pushed the return to players down 2.1 points to 85% (the minimum return allowed under French law). The average number of weekly active bettors surged 36% to 462.5k, enticed in part by operators’ bonus offers, which jumped 53% to €19.6m.
Football wagers were up 34% year-on-year to €465m, accounting for 55% of Q1’s total wagering handle. The presence of French football clubs in the Champions League and Europa League finals pushed wagering in these leagues up 47% and 73% year-on-year, respectively.
Tennis wagers grew 26% to €163m for a 19% share of Q1’s overall handle, while basketball wagers jumped 53% to €125m, representing a 15% share. Betting on National Basketball Association games accounted for €80.6m, just €500k less than the sum wagered on Ligue 1 football matches in Q1.
Only €4.4m was wagered on the 2018 Winter Olympics, although this was more than double the €2m wagered on the 2014 event. Nearly half (44%) of all Olympic wagers were live bets, despite the time disparity between the host nation South Korea. Regardless, the total paled in comparison to the €34m wagered on the 2016 Summer Olympics, which also suffered from significant time-shifting.
Online horseracing wagers improved 9% to €270m, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of year-on-year growth. The rise was aided by race betting bonus offers nearly doubling to €8.1m, while weekly active race betting accounts rose 6% to 148k. Race betting revenue improved 8% to €65m.
France’s once-struggling online poker market reported cash game spending jumping 18% to just over €1.1b but cash game revenue slipped 2% to €24.1m. Online poker tournament fees were up 14% to €594m and tourney revenue gained 15% to €44.8m.
Despite the cash games spending rise, cash games recorded a 1% decline in weekly average players to 79k. By contrast, weekly active tournament players rose 5% to 252k.
Women still make up a tiny fraction of France’s online gamblers, but their ranks are growing faster than their male counterparts. Weekly active female online gamblers improved 30% to 222k in Q1, while male actives were up 24% to 1.63m.
Source: European Gaming Media and Events