France sets new online sports betting records

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French online sports betting operators took in over three-quarters more wagers on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games than the London 2012 event.

Figures released by gaming regulator ARJEL show total Olympic wagers at the 12 French-licensed operators topping €33.9m during the Rio games, up from €19.2m four years ago. Online Olympic revenue more than doubled from €3.3m to €6.8m.

Interestingly, the share of in-play wagers was lower than in 2012, falling from 57% in London to 50% in Rio. ARJEL blamed the decline on the time difference, as most French bettors were safely tucked in bed while many of the Rio events were taking place.

In terms of attracting the most wagers, the top Olympic sport was tennis, on which French punters wagered €8.5m, followed by basketball (€6m), football (€5.8m), handball (€5.4m) and volleyball (€2.1m).

Meanwhile, the Euro 2016 football tournament helped push French-licensed sports betting turnover and revenue to their highest ever totals since the regulated market launched in 2010.

French operators took in €585m worth of sports wagers in the three months ending June 30, 73% higher than in Q2 2015. Of this total, €102m (17%) was spent on the first part of the Euro 2016 competition, with the full tournament generating wagers of €141m.

Total sports betting revenue in Q2 was up 45% to a record €91m. The figures would have been even higher but for punter-friendly results, which boosted player return by 2.9 points (84.4%, excluding bonuses).

Football, tennis and basketball accounted for a combined 91% of Q2 sports turnover. Football’s share of the Q2 pie was 57%, which was lower than the 63% recorded in Q2 2014 during the FIFA World Cup.

In Q1 2016, online poker managed to post its first year-on-year revenue gain in five years but that single-quarter streak was broken in Q2, as poker revenue slipped 2% to €53m. In keeping with prevailing patterns, tournament buy-ins were up 7% to €450m while cash game stakes fell 9% to €853m. Active weekly accounts improved 3% to 232k.

Horserace betting continued its decline, with turnover falling 12% year-on-year to €218m and revenue down 10% to €55m. The number of weekly average player active accounts was down 6%.

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