Revenue from online betting in France increased 35% to €587 million in the first quarter of 2021, according to the country’s gaming regulatory authority, Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ). The activity was driven by 3.1 million players with an account, up 19% compared to 2020. Each segment experienced strong growth, which the regulator pointed out to be an effect of the pandemic.
“Thus, the growth levels registered in the first quarter of 2021, which are measured in relation to the first quarter of 2020, should be received with a certain degree of caution”, said the ANJ, noting that they can be distorted by people who migrate from the land games that were closed as a result of the pandemic for other verticals.
The regulator’s figures reveal that French gaming industry revenue grew significantly in the first quarter after a turbulent year. Sports and horse betting once again registered record betting as poker began to return to normal.
The online sports betting segment, which suffered the most from the cancellation of sporting events in the first half of last year, posted the most spectacular increase in betting in the first quarter. Players have earmarked around €2.2 billion in bets, up 79% from the first quarter of 2020.
Number of sports bettors grew and should continue to grow in France
The number of sportsbook players in the quarter increased 29% to a total of nearly 2.5 million active player accounts. The regulator said it expects growth to continue at a high pace this year due to the Euro Cup and the Olympic Games.
Française des Jeux (FDJ), France’s national lottery operator, reported that the volume of sports betting bets registered in the two distribution channels was 1.1 billion euros at the beginning of 2021, which corresponds to an increase 46% compared to the results of the first quarter of 2020.
Horse racing betting, which reached €481 million, increased by 60% compared to the first quarter of 2020, which is the highest volume of betting recorded over a quarter.
At the same time, the turnover of the six licensed horse racing betting operators increased by 48% compared to the same period last year, to €110 million. Online betting on races was also up 13% for players, with a total of 402,000 active accounts during the quarter.
Meanwhile, online poker, which posted its biggest revenue growth in 2020, continues to grow at a steady pace, but more slowly than in previous quarters. Industry revenue rose 23% to reach €120 million in the first quarter.
The number of online poker players was up 9% with 991,000 active player accounts. The second quarter results are likely to be slightly affected, warned the regulator, due to the fact that the second quarter of 2020 had exceptional levels of activity due to the first restrictive measures in France.
President of ANJ reinforces request to practice responsible gaming
ANJ President Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin said: “The dynamic of online gaming was confirmed again this quarter and accelerated. It requires a certain amount of vigilance and must be monitored in order to guarantee the protection of players, especially in preparation for major sporting events such as the Euro Cup or the Tokyo Olympics”.
She concluded: “Therefore, ANJ reminds operators of the need for their commercial communication to emphasize the importance of maintaining a moderate and controlled gaming practice and that the bonuses or welcome offers they offer must be clear enough to allow players to understand the commitments they assume”.