At the end of the day, or quarter, the iGaming business in France looks to be booming as well.
Q1 totals posted for 2016 represent the largest single year-on-year gain in sports betting and the highest quarterly wagering total yet recorded. Monday's figures released by French regulator ARJEL were led by online sports betting handle in the three months ending March 31 to reach €516m, vaulting a massive 47% from the same period last year. Total online sports revenue by French-licensed operators improved overall by 30% to €82m.
Sports Betting Growth
Significantly, ARJEL credited sports betting growth for the 2.1 rise in betting returns to players. This along with a 75% year-on-year increase in bonus offers provided a robust sense of safety and success which the regulator believes encouraged reinvestment of punter winnings more often. Another substantive boost to the rise in betting returns was an equally encouraging 34% rise in the number of weekly active betting accounts.
This activity carried over to all sports in France, which is just getting its latest regulation model up and running. All individual sports bet on in France experienced encouragingly substantial Q1 gains, with football stakes jumping 45%, tennis 46%, basketball 57% and rugby an incredible 71%, and hockey more than doubling!
The weak spot was horse-racing, with that handle falling 7% year-on-year to €247m and revenues falling 5% to €66m. ARJEL attributed drops to decreasing wager size of race bettors.
The Poker Jump
An area of concern has been poker. A modest 2% jump for Q1 brought the market gain to €62m for the the first year-on-year revenue gain posted since Q3 2011. However, revenue increases were brought about by higher tournament fees. Cash game stakes continued to drop, plummeting another 7% to €953m.
Help is on the way, as politicians have after much debate approved French-licensed sites to share liquidity with licensed operators in other European Union regulated markets. This paves the way for highly popular international poker play.
Mobile Use Up
Finally, for the second consecutive quarter, more than half of all digital sports bets were placed via mobile devices, with that trend expected to accelerate as well.