Game volumes are down and so are active players, online poker is not dragging French gaming, which is growing.
French gambling has witnessed a “spectacular year of online growth”, according to the 2021 market report published by the Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) – the unified regulatory authority for French gambling.
Mitigating the continuing circumstances due to Covid-19 affecting the land game and the sports calendar, the French gambling market recorded a total GGR turnover of 10.7 billion euros, an increase of 7% compared to the results of the 2020 financial year of 10 billion euros.
Described as “the first pillar of the French gambling market”, state-sanctioned monopoly operators Française des Jeux (lottery and retail betting) and PMU (horse racing) accounted for 70% of the GGR with a combined turnover 8.5 billion euros.
The growth of the monopolistic operators was attributed to the strong recovery of the retail network of the combined FDJ lottery and the improvement of online sales which recorded an increase of 16% of the GGR of the lottery to 5 billion euros.
Returning to normalized trading conditions, PMU’s equities accounted for 1.5 billion euros in GGR, 16% more than in 2020. However, PMU’s turnover remains below pre-covid 2019 records. 1.8 billion euros, as French racing fell 1% year-on-year to 625,000 active customers.
Meanwhile, forced to close in the first half of the year, French land-based casinos saw a 41% drop in the GGR to 1 billion euros.
Marked as the “hyper-growing segment” of the market, French online gambling (sports betting, horse betting and online poker) has for the first time exceeded the turnover threshold of 2 billion euros by registering a combined GGR of 2, 2 billion euros.
Anj noted that online growth was driven by the “powerful sports betting engine” which produced record bets / bets of 7 billion euros, helping the segment to reach a GGR FY2021 of 1.33 billion euros (FY2020: 940 million).
It is significant that Anj has stated that sports betting has reached its fifth consecutive year of double-digit growth in active customers, registering 4.5 million players in 2021.
Anj observed: “This exceptional increase compared to 2020 has benefited from an attractive sports calendar, culminating in the Euro 2020 football tournament which generated 445 million euros in bets. Football remains by far the sport that generates the most bets. “
“In 2021, sports betting accounted for 82% of active player accounts (AGAs) in the online gaming industry. The number of CJAs in sports betting has increased by 16% in 2021 compared to 2020, to 4.5 million. Finally, the turnover on behalf of active players has grown by about 25% to reach 303 euros in 2021, a sign that the market is still expanding.
Compared to a 2020 benchmark, French online poker fell 4% of the GGR to 430 million euros, mainly due to a 10% drop in active customers of 1.6 million.
It is important to note that ANJ reported that for the first time the French online gambling industry has exceeded 5 million active player accounts as the market base of customers has grown to + 5.4 million customers in the 2021.