French igaming market sees H1 revenue rise 20.1%

30 July 2019

France’s online gaming market has reported a 20.1% year-on-year increase in revenue for the first half of 2019, after the sports betting vertical grew strongly over the period.

Amounts wagered across the legal sports betting, horse race betting and online poker verticals grew to €6.25bn (£5.72bn/$6.97bn), a 13.1% improvement from the prior year. This was driven predominantly by sports betting, which recorded a 33.9% increase in stakes to €2.48bn, the highest half-year total recorded since the market opened for business in 2010, according to L’Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL).

This increased activity contributed to growth in gross gaming revenue, with the market total rising to €700m for the six months ended 30 June, 2019. This was again largely down to growth in sports betting, which saw revenue rise 32.9% to €436m.

The vertical continues to rely heavily on bonuses to attract players, with licensed operators spending €43m on promotions.

While sports betting was once again the star performer, both horse race betting and poker reported growth in H1. Amounts wagered on horse racing were up 4.2% year-on-year to €542m, with revenue up 5.6% to €133m. The number of players active in the vertical grew despite bonus spending declining, falling 17.6% to €14m.

Poker, meanwhile, saw cash game stakes increase to €2.08bn, with tournament entry fees up 2.3% at €1.15bn. The vertical saw revenue grow following a decline in the first quarter of the year, rising marginally to €131m.

Over the half-year period, media spend across all licensees rose marginally to €104m, though this only accounted for around 30% of total marketing spend. The majority (66%) was allocated to non-media marketing, such as retention and acquisition bonuses, with a further 4% going on sponsorship deals.

This followed a strong second quarter, with stakes for the three months to 30 June up 12.0% year-on-year at €3.03bn despite the prior year containing the early stages of the FIFA Men’s World Cup. In Q2, 2018, amounts wagered on the tournament accounted for €218m of total stakes, whereas this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup was responsible for €49m.

Revenue for the quarter was up 13.6% to €343m, of which €214m (62.4%) came from online sports betting. The vertical was aided by growth in player activity, with an average of 608,000 players active each week, compared to 527,000 in the prior year. The sports betting market also expanded with the launch of BetConstruct’s VBet brand.

Horse race betting saw growth continue into Q2, which ARJEL attributed to increased player activity. An average of 142,000 accounts were used each week during the quarter, which contributed to a 7.6% increase in stakes and 8.2% revenue growth, to €66m.

Poker’s Q2 recovery was evident across both cash games and tournaments. Stakes were up €1.01bn for cash games, and tournament entry fees rose to €546m. This saw revenue for the vertical growth 5.0% to €63m.