France's Online Gaming Market Positive in Q1 2017

France's Online Gaming Market Positive in Q1 2017 French gaming regulator ARJEL has just released its latest online results for the first three months of 2017, and the news was almost universally positive across the whole range of its products, with even online poker enjoying an uptick in its revenue numbers.
Dominating the industry in Q1 was online sports betting, which noted a sharp 23% increase in its turnover to €633 million ($710m) compared to the same quarter in 2016. It also demolished the previous record set in 2011 of €592 million, which was the year when the market was first regulated. Another positive for the segment was the fact that participation amongst female players was up by 40% to 79,000 during the quarter, representing almost double the growth rate reported for male gamblers, which was up by 21% to 829,000 over the same period.
Breaking the figures down further, sports wagering on tennis matches soared by 41% to €129.5 million versus the €91.6 million collected in Q1 of 2016. In the meantime, similarly impressive growth was also reported for football, up 18% to €348 million, and basketball up 19% to €81.6 million. Bucking the trend, however, was online horseracing, whose turnover was down by 1% to €246 million from €247 million a year earlier.
In terms of revenue, sports betting was up by 16% overall to €94 million in Q1, although horseracing saw its revenue slip by 4% to €61 million. Meanwhile, online poker, too, enjoyed a solid quarter with revenue higher by 3% to €64 million, with the 2% decline noted in its cash game vertical to €936 million offset by the 7% increase in its tournament business to €39 million.
While recognizing the positive aspect of France’s latest results, ARJEL still highlighted the need to implement a more competitive tax regime for the country’s gaming operators going forward, with the regulator stating:
“In this context maintaining a fiscal arrangement that taxes operators on stakes when they pay out so much to their players in winnings along with a very restrictive licensed offering that doesn’t take into account the expectations and habits of the new generations, puts an increasingly heavy burden on the licensed market in the face of an illegal offer which, despite the efforts of ARJEL, is intensifying.”

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