Pari-Mutuel Urbain Fined €900,000 by French Competition Authority

  • Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) failed to separate online and retail betting liquidity
  • Has been doing so for domestic races since 2014, but not for international races
  • Betclic and Zeturf filed a complaint with the French Competition Authority (FCA)
Two jockeys during horse race
French horse racing giant PMU has been hit with a €900,000 fine for failing to separate retail and online liquidity. [Image:]

Internal failings

French horse racing giant Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) has been fined €900,000 ($984,000) by the French Competition Authority (FCA) for failing to separate retail and online betting liquidity.

The company has been separating the liquidity for these channels for domestic horse races since it made this commitment back in 2014. However, it has been failing to separate betting pools for international racing.

Zeturf and Betclic brought this matter to the attention of the authorities

Online gambling companies Zeturf and Betclic brought this matter to the attention of the authorities after they discovered that PMU was failing to meet its compliance commitments.

PMU offers coverage for horse races that take place in the France, United States, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, and South Africa. As noted by Zeturf and Betclic, PMU offers the same prize pools and odds through its retail outlets and its online platform.

Separation of funds

Pools for retail and online betting are added together with money taken in by PMU’s overseas partners. These funds are added to a large, single jackpot. As a result, the offerings for overseas racing are equally as attractive through PMU’s retail and online outlets, according to the French Competition Authority.

The government body went on to explain that “this corresponds directly with the situation for French horse race betting before it committed to splitting online and offline liquidity in 2014.”

The FCA clarified that the 2014 order was “unambiguous” and clearly covered all forms of racing, not just race that take place in France. 

Additional compensation

Due to this approach, PMU had an unfair advantage over its competitors that were also offering horse racing pools. A French court ordered PMU to pay an unspecified compensation sum to Betclic due to these anti-competitive practices. 

The online gambling regulator in France, L’Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL) backed up the decision to fine PMU. 

Battle for the top

PMU is undoubtedly the leader for horse racing betting in France. Competitors such as Zeturf and Betclic have been battling with PMU since the online gambling market was regulated back in 2010.

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