France Q1 Booms Year-on-Year—Because of Sports Betting's LeapPublished May 21, 2019 by Lee R
France's Q1 was quite intriguing—but not for the reason you might expect.
France is moving up, thanks to a revenue bump from the sports betting sector.
The Key Increase
France gambling authority ARJEL's figures revealed a 52% increase in sports betting brought France's overall revenue for the three months to March 31, 2019 to €357m (£309.8m/$400.0m), representing a year-on-year from €281m for Q1 2018.
Bold Sports Betting
The main source of income for licensed operators in France was sports betting, whose €222m figure jumped from €147m for Q1 2018, a total representing the highest quarterly total ever recorded by France's regulated market.
Another record boost for France was recorded in sports betting at 51%, with wagers rising from €847m to €1.28bn.
Football Wager Popularity
Football remained the most popular sport to bet on, with the wager total of €716.8m representing a whopping 54% rise from last year's €464.9m.
Top leagues bet on were France's Ligue 1 (€81.0m in bets); the English Premier League (€73.3m) and the European Champions League , at €68.0m.
Tennis and Basketball
Other popular sports also fared with tennis wagering up 53% year-on-year to €250.0m. The robust growth was driven by a 138% increase at the yearly kickoff Australian Open, complemented by basketball betting's 42% surge to €177.1m.
Though sports betting was a significant contributor, it is important to keep in mind that France is part of the liquidity sharing poker pool with Portugal and Spain. Alas the potential for increased interest and participation from players in the individual jurisdictions seems to have come up short: the fact is online poker revenue was actually down 1% from €69m in 2018 to €68m, for surprisingly sequential decline in two years. ARJEL attributed the drop to slowage in tournament activity and stakes on cash game tables.
Underwhelming Poker Totals
These Q1 totals included cash wager at €1.07bn, representing a drop of 3% on Q1 2018's €1.106bn. At the same time, tournament fees were up a slight 1% to €599m with the number of players taking part in poker games rising from 268,000 to 273,000, indicating that poker wagers needed all the help they could get to remain stable.
France has some truly ironic figures, where a boom in sports betting represented the main contribution to the increase in overall gaming revenue, with results from sharing pools still being mined for impact.