France's Online Poker Market Shrinks 10% In Q1 2014April 15, 2014 9:21 am
France’s online gaming regulator ARJEL has just released a report covering the first quarter of this year, and the results reveal a continuing decline in the country’s poker market.
In 2010, France legalized online gambling but by the following year the industry started experiencing a decline which has continued up until today. The latest report confirms the ongoing negative trend, and for Q1 2014 there were 12% less active accounts than for the same period in 2013, costing operators around 10% of their turnover.
Cash games have been particularly hard hit, and according to ARJEL bets were down by 19% during the first three months of the year, and down by 28% compared to two years ago. Overall, for the first quarter of 2014 cash game bets shrunk to €1.2 million, down from a total of €1.476 million for the same quarter in 2013.
Tournament poker, on the other hand, experienced a 9% growth with total buy-ins up from €375 million in Q1 2013 to €407 million in 2014.
Nevertheless, the combined figures still translates to a 10% decline for France’s online poker industry overall, with revenue shrinking from €72 million in Q1 2013 to €65 million in Q1 2014. This has lead ARJEL to predict poker operators “are experiencing considerable losses for yet another quarter.”
Between Q1 2013 and 2014 the total number of active players has now shrunk 12% from 299,000 in 2013 to 263,000 this year. Still, there are indications development of the country’s regulated market is more to blame than a lack of general interest by French players. In France, you see, 47% of the country’s players prefer to compete on unlicensed websites, representing a significant diversion of funds away from its domestic market.
This has lead the country to consider a range of options to counteract the drain, including ARJEL’s latest awareness campaign designed to “make players aware of the risks they take when playing on non-regulated operators.”
The one area which would have had a bigger impact, however, has failed to take traction after the French parliament ruled against it, namely allowing shared liquidity with Italy and Spain.