Online poker troubles continue in France

5 July 2013

The drop in cash game poker stakes in France’s iGaming market continued during the first half of 2013 as licensed operators’ turnover fell by 14 percent year-on-year to €2.7 billion ($3.4 billion).

The figures were revealed to Agence France Presse on Thursday during a meeting of German, Spanish, French, British, Italian and Portuguese gambling regulators taking place in Lisbon.

French online poker’s travails are in marked contrast to the regulated online sportsbetting sector, which saw turnover rise by eleven percent year-on-year to €402 million ($515.7 million) and gross gaming revenues improve by 11.5 percent when compared with the same period in 2012 to €80 million ($102.6 million). These increases were primarily driven by top-flight football club Paris Saint-Germain’s high media profile thanks to star players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham. Monaco also created a lot of interest in Ligue 2 and has already recruited big name players such as Radamel Falcao to mark their return to Ligue 1 next season.

Online poker tournament stakes for the six-month period were stable at €713 million ($915 million) although gross gaming revenues decreased by twelve percent year-on-year to €135 million ($173.3 million) with the number of active players down by seven percent to 906,000.

The main reasons for the drop are the heavy taxation on poker site’s turnover while ring-fenced liquidity means player pools are limited.

European Union regulators are working on setting up bloc-wide liquidity between regulated markets although this will require a change in the law covering iGaming in France and will have to go through parliament with no timeframe yet.

Finally, online parimutuel horseracing stakes grew by two percent year-on-year to €578 million ($742 million) while gross gaming revenues swelled by 2.5 percent when compared with the initial six months of 2012 to €137 million ($175.8 million).