World Cup success drives online growth in France
France’s victory at this year’s Fifa World Cup proved to be a major catalyst for gambling growth in the country, as national regulator ARJEL reported record sports wagers in the second quarter.
ARJEL said more than €1bn ($1.16bn) was wagered across 12 betting sites in the period, up from €847m in the opening quarter of the year.
The regulator put this sharp acceleration down to activity around the World Cup, with 22% of all sports bets in the quarter placed on the first 50 matches of the tournament up to the end of Q2 on June 30.
ARJEL also noted that this trend continued after the end of the quarter, with punters betting a total of €382m via online platforms on the World Cup.
Much of this was down to the success of France, who saw off Croatia 4-2 in the final on July 15 to win the tournament for the first time since 1998.
Last month, French gaming giant Française des Jeux (FDJ) said it took €333m in bets on the World Cup across its online and land-based businesses, just less than half of the €690m wagered in total across the country.
The final itself generated €67m across the sector, with FDJ’s €32m a record for bets on a single match.
However, ARJEL said while favourable results in the early games of the World Cup came as a major boost to operators, it warned that the latter stages of the tournament were not as fruitful, and this will become apparent when results are published for the third quarter.
Aside from financial figures, ARJEL reported that the World Cup helped to bring in a large number of new sports bettors.
A total of 960,000 new player accounts were created during the quarter, while the number of active player accounts per week climbed from 302,000 in Q2 of last year to 527,000 in 2018.
Meanwhile, away from the World Cup, ARJEL reported further gains in horse racing betting, with online wagers up 5% year-on-year to €250m. This increase could have been higher had it not been for the World Cup, it said, as stakes fell 5% during the first three weeks of the tournament.
ARJEL also reported gains in poker, with player accounts up 8% to 246,000 and cash bet 9% to €925m. Entry fees for online tournaments were also up 10% year-on-year to €525m.