Sports betting continues to boost French igaming in Q1
France’s online gambling market experienced year-on-year growth in the first quarter, primarily due to a 52% increase in revenue within the sports betting sector.
Overall revenue for the three months to March 31, 2019, amounted to €357m (£309.8m/$400.0m), up from €281m in the corresponding period last year, according to figures from national igaming regulator L’Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL).
Sports betting was the main source of income for licensed operators in France, with revenue coming in at €222m, compared to €147m in Q1 of 2018. This is the highest quarterly amount since the launch of the regulated French market.
Punters also spent more on sports betting, with wagers rising 51% from €847m to €1.28bn, representing another quarterly record for the country.
ARJEL cited football as the most popular sport to bet on in France, with punters wagering a total of €716.8m, up 54% on €464.9m last year. Ligue 1, the top tier in France, attracted the most bets (€81.0m), followed by the English Premier League on €73.3m and Europe-wide the Champions League with €68.0m.
Tennis wagering was also up 53% year-on-year to €250.0m, boosted by a 138% rise in bets on the Australian Open, while basketball betting climbed by 42% to €177.1m.
Horse racing revenue, which ARJEL reports separately to sports betting, came in at €67m in the quarter, up 3% on €65m last year.
A busier racing calendar of 605 meetings against 556 last year meant punters were able to bet on more races, with total wagers up 1% to €273m. However, ARJEL warned that the growth in stakes slowed significantly compared to last year.
Elsewhere, online poker revenue was down 1% from €69m in 2018 to €68m, the first quarterly decline in two years. ARJEL said this was a result of a slowdown in tournament activity and decline in stakes on the cash game tables.
The total wagered on cash games in the first quarter amounted to €1.07bn, down 3% on €1.106bn last year, but tournament fees were up 1% to €599m and the overall number of players taking part in poker games climbed from 268,000 to 273,000.
The first-quarter results read similar to the ARJEL report for 2018, during which online gaming revenue increased 25% year-on-year to €1.2bn, primarily due to growth within the sports betting sector.