In the third quarter of 2019, France’s online sports betting operators enjoyed the benefits of clobbering gamblers, while online poker received a double-digit boost from increased tournament activity.
Figures released Thursday by French gambling regulator ARJEL show that in the three months ended September 30, the country’s licensed online gambling operators generated combined revenue of € 346 million, a solid 27.7 percent increase over the same period last year and around € 3 million more than the industry registered in Q2 2019.
Sports betting was the primary engine of Q3 growth, with the 13 betting licensees reporting revenue rising by 44% year-on-year to € 214 million, despite online betting stakes rising by only 9% to € 1,08b and active betting stakes falling by 1%.
Total return to sports betters dropped 5.3 points year-on-year, representing in part the final match of the FIFA World Cup, where France triumphed over Croatia, resulting in a € 36.5 million payout to patriotic punters in Q3 2018. Operators’ bonus deals to bettors fell by € 3 million to € 17 million, reflecting the absence of a similarly marquee sports event in the latest quarter.
Kings’ once-moribund sports were once again spared a trip to the knackers, as race betting revenue rose 5 percent to € 66 m, due in part to dipping bonus offers of more than one-third. Yet successful race bettors have increased by 5 percent and stakes have risen by 7 percent, leading ARJEL to predict that racing will experience a third straight year of annual growth once the final figures for 2019 have arrived.
Active player ranks were up 8 percent to 256k over at the online poker tables, while overall poker revenue was up almost 12 percent to € 66 m. Tournament poker increased the gains by 14% to € 45 million, but cash games managed a modest 5% increase to € 21 million.
French-licensed operators may have been stingy with their Q3 bonus offers, but their overall marketing outlay increased to € 43 million by 13.2 percent. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of this volume was expended on recruitment and retention campaigns, while another 33% was spent on local media promotions.
This is ARJEL’s final quarterly report, as the government is planning to replace the agency with a new entity, L’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), as of January 1, 2020.