French Online Poker Slips 17% To €112.5m in H2 2014

French Online Poker Slips 17% To €112.5m in H2 2014According to the latest report released by France’s online gambling regulator (ARJEL), the country’s online gambling market in Q2 was similar to that reported for Q1, with online sports helping to offset a decline in horseracing bets, while online poker continued its relentless slide.
In Q2, horseracing bets declined by 7% to €255 million, with gross profits falling by 2% to €64 million.
Online sports betting, on the other hand, generated stakes of €286 million compared to €198 million for the same quarter last year, and gross profits of €59 million, up from €36 million in 2013. Helping to drive the betting in Q2 was the 2014 FIFA World Cup with football bets up by 76% to €62 million, although other sports, too, enjoyed an uptick in wagering. These included tennis (+3%), basketball (+30%), rugby (+14%), volleyball (+75%). Furthermore, active betting accounts soared by 51% to 178k in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, France’s online poker continued to mirror that of other EU markets, such as Italy and Spain, which suffer from ring fenced player pools. In Q2, poker cash game stakes fell by 17% to €1.08 billion and lower by 18% to €2.2 billion for H2 2014. At the same time, tournament poker fees were up by 6% to €363 million and up 7% to €770 million over the past six months.
Not surprisingly, active internet poker accounts declined by 13% to 238k, while cash game player traffic was down by 21% and tournament player traffic down by 13%. Worryingly, this represents the first time both variants have decreased in tandem since regulation was introduced in 2010.
In total, French online poker generated €112.5 million in revenues for H2 2014, down 17% year-over-year.
Helping to account for the slump in France’s online poker market is the fact the country has made the industry unattractive to domestic players, with 47% of the country’s players preferring to gamble on grey market site, instead. In fact, the situation has become so untenable that earlier this year former ARJEL President Jean-François Vilotte, commented:
“Seen from a broader perspective, this is a problem of legalized markets competing against non-legalized ones. If legalized markets won’t learn how to become more flexible and adjust themselves quicker to what people want, they will keep doing the work for illegal websites and help them to win against their legal competitors.”

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