Sports Betting Key to Record $716m Online Gambling Turnover in France

By Adam Haynes in Laws and Regulation
| October 20, 2021 1:04 pm PDT

The French iGaming division recently posted a record €617 million ($716m) turnover in the second quarter of 2021, with sports betting accounting for most of it.

That’s according to the European nation’s gambling regulator, L’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ).

The ANJ confirmed that sports betting hit €420m for the second quarter, making up a considerable 68% of all revenue from online gambling.

Online Gambling in France Driven by Major Sports Events

Q2 sports betting stakes in France peaked at €2.15bn, falling short of the €2.2bn hit in the first quarter of this financial year.

The ANJ concluded that bettors’ activity on major tournaments such as the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship and the French Open spearheaded a 91% year-on-year (YoY) increase from Q2 2020 (€323).

The Euros and the French Open made up a staggering 22% of betting activity in the quarter. The former accounted for a total of €434m worth of online transactions alone.

With sports like horse racing returning to pre-COVID levels, revenue over the first two quarters shows a tangible upswing. Online betting in Europe is popular but appears to be a customary practice in France, per ANJ President, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin.

“The French are always more likely to bet online and, quite logically, the Euros boosted the segment of sports betting whose turnover reached another record this quarter.”

Although online sports betting is exceptionally healthy, the same can’t be said for online poker revenue.

In Q2, poker accounted for just €103m, marking a decrease of 25% when compared with the €142m reported in the same period in 2020.

Records Up Amid Potential Crackdown on Advertising

During the European Championships, the ANJ had expressed concern about the frequency of gambling advertisements during broadcasts.

With UK leaders considering bans on gambling firms sponsoring teams in the region, their European neighbors could potentially look to do the same.

With problem gambling a hot topic during the Euros, Falque-Pierrotin suggested that excessive advertising needs to be looked at and perhaps ‘rebalanced’ to suit the current French model.

“It makes us ask ourselves about the societal issues that these new uses present. This is particularly the case with advertising — a subject on which the ANJ is currently consulting all stakeholders to promote a rebalancing of operator practices.”

If measures are introduced that stray too far from the current status quo for operators, online sports betting revenue in France will more than likely fail to break many new records.

Earlier this year, La Française des Jeux and Pari-Mutuel Urbain were lambasted by the ANJ for allegedly targeting young people through social media platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok.

While changes look likely, it appears inevitable that the regulator will be clamping down on online betting services conducting ad campaigns via these channels.



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