The online gaming market in France is finally seeing a shift as revenues have started to go up. The country’s iGaming regulator Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL) recently announced that during the third quarter of 2017, profits from several areas of the gambling industry have increased across the board, with France’s online poker market posting a record high in six years.
The report showed that online poker saw an 11 percent increase in revenue, amounting to €58 million. This is the market’s strongest year-on-year growth in almost six years. Tournament poker saw a 10 percent rise in fees to €474 million, bringing in a 14 percent rise in revenue to €35.7 million. Online cash games have also rebounded, increasing 8 percent in total money wagered to €885 million. This brings overall revenue to €22.1 million, a five percent increase from the third quarter in 2016 and a recovery from two straight quarters of revenue decline.
These boosted revenues are accounted for by the increased number of weekly active players. Poker accounts increased 8 percent to over 228,000 weekly active players, which is a turnaround from four straight quarters of dwindling player numbers. Active cash games players are up 12 percent to 68,000 players and tournaments saw a 9 percent increase in participants.
The increasing poker activity and revenue bodes well for the upcoming online poker liquidity that ARJEL announced back in July. France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal are already on board and have signed an inter-country agreement, which will allow shared poker liquidity between the four countries.
There are already a number of operators expected to apply for these license once the required regulations are put into place. Industry reporters believe that out of the four licensed operators offering iGaming in France, PokerStars is set to be the first operator that is most likely to come on board and benefit from the combined player pool. PokerStars currently holds a license in all four countries.
Apart from online poker, betting revenue from locally licensed iGaming operators has been particularly strong as well, even without a major football tournament taking place. Football betting accounted for 60 percent of the betting stakes in the third quarter, contributing to the 23 percent rise of sports wagers amounting to €549,000. This amounted to a 23 percent boost in year-on-year revenue totalling €106 million.
More wagers also took place in horseracing, which saw a 5 percent spike to 127,000 weekly active betters. Racing revenue posted a 10 percent boost to €60 million. ARJEL attributes the increase in racing revenue to newly rolled out regulations that simplified betting products for bettors.