French iGaming Revenue up 18.1% to €1.42bn in 2019

  • Sports betting revenue increased 27% year-on-year to €5.06bn ($5.5bn)
  • French government received €701m ($759m) in taxes
  • Soccer was the most popular sport to bet on, followed by basketball and tennis
French flag and Eiffel Tower in Paris
A 27.3% year-on-year increase in sports betting revenue helped France’s online gaming market rake in €1.42bn ($1.54bn) last year. [Image:]

Figures released by ARJEL

L’Autorité nationale de régulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL) has revealed that France’s online gambling sector generated gross gaming revenue of €1.42bn ($1.54bn) in 2019, up 18.1% year-on-year.

The country’s online gambling regulator highlighted that sports betting contributed €880m ($953m) to the overall figure. Revenue from online sports betting increased 27.3% year-on-year. This is even more impressive given that there was no international soccer tournament taking place.

sports betting contributed €880m ($953m) to the overall figure

Sportsbooks usually experience a spike in revenue when the FIFA World Cup takes place, as was the case in 2018. It was the FIFA World Cup that helped sports betting revenue grow by 56% in 2018.

Bulk of revenue from sports betting

Online gambling operators paid €701m ($759m) in taxes to the French government, the majority of which came from sportsbooks.

Soccer was the most popular sport to bet on. The main area of focus for sports bettors was on pregame bets, with live betting accounting for 29% of all soccer bets. 

Next on the list was basketball, with live betting making up 40% of all bets. This was followed by betting on tennis, rugby union, ice hockey, and volleyball. 

Other areas of growth

Other areas of growth for the online gambling sector were online poker and horse racing betting. 

Horse racing betting revenue hit €271m ($294m), a rise of nearly 6%, with the total handle being €1.1bn ($1.2bn). This represents a rise of 5.4%, which is the highest intake since 2012.

In total, there were 599,000 active online gambling accounts betting on horse racing in the country, a rise of almost 2% for the year. 

Online poker revenue for the year increased 5.4% to €272m ($295m), with €184m ($199m) of this total being generated by tournaments. The number of active poker players in the nation also increased by 5.5%, hitting 1.2 million.

Changes on the way in France

The French government looks set to create a new regulator to take over from ARJEL. The new regulator would be tasked with overseeing all aspects of the gambling sector, including online gambling, commercial casinos, and track horse race betting.

French government looks set to create a new regulator to take over from ARJEL

The plan is for this new regulatory body called L’autorité nationale des jeux (ANJ) to be in place by spring 2020. The first president of this new body is set to be Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, who is currently a councilor on the country’s National Commission for Data Protection. 

Moving forward, gambling tax revenues will also be gathered in a different manner. They will be calculated using gross gaming revenue as opposed to turnover. The idea behind this move is to even out any fluctuations that come through punters being more successful than usual. 

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