Friday January 30,2015 : ONLINE SPORTS BETTING CONTINUES TO DELIVER THE GOODS FOR FRENCH OPERATORS
Both quarterly and annual wagering on sports has grown, French regulator reports.
French regulator ARJEL's fourth quarter 2014 report illustrates once again how important sports betting is to French operators, with fourth quarter growth in stakes at 22 percent to Euro 322 million, resulting in a full year rise in wagers of 31 percent to Euro 1.1 billion.
However, the French market continued to labour when the results of the poker vertical, and especially the cash game sector, are examined, once again clearly feeling the weight of a lack of player liquidity in the dedicated market and heavy taxation. Poker tournament fees at least remained relatively stable.
Online cash game stakes in Q4 declined 12 percent to Euro 1 billion (Q4-2013: Euro 1.2 billion), whilst over the full year stakes declined from Euro 5 bllion in 2013 to Euro 4.3 billion in 2014.
ARJEL made the point that cash game stakes in the market have slipped 33 percent since 2011.
The low level of staking was reflected in the gross profit numbers for cash game activity; on a full year basis down Euro 14 million y-o-y at Euro 123.2 million, whilst over Q4-2014 profit sank Euro 5.5 million to Euro 23.5 million.
Annual tournament fees rose 9 percent to Euro 1.5 billion, whilst fourth quarter fees were up Euro 31 million over Q4-2013 at Euro 424 million.
Annual gross profits on poker were up at Euro 117.5 million (FY 2013: Euro 111 million) and slightly up over the last quarter of the year at Euro 31.7 million (Q4-2013: Euro 30 million).
Other points of interest in the report included:
* Quarterly gross profit was flat in Q4, although taken over the year delivered 38 percent growth to Euro 227 million;
* At 83 percent, the pay-out ratio in Q4 was more punter-friendly than the preceding quarter (75.5 percent);
* Football remains very popular with French gamblers, accounting for 64 percent of all online stakes, with basketball its nearest rival on just 15 percent;
* Active player accounts soared 36 percent to 1.14 million over the year;
* The key 18 to 34 year demographic was again active, with just on 50 percent of them using mobile devices to deposit. In contrast, upwards of 60 percent of the 35 to 65 demographic chose to use desktops;
* Horse racing results were again disappointing, with online pari mutuel wagers down 7 percent y-o-y to Euro 1.03 billion, a figure last visited in 2011. Compared with Q4-2013, stakes dropped 2 percent in the fourth quarter to Euro 271.8 million;
* Gross profits across the market managed only a 1 percent rise to Euro 67.7 million in Q4-2014, bringing the annual gross profit figure to Euro 257 million, an actual Euro 7 million decline;
* French punters overwhelmingly (83 percent) used credit or debit cards to make their deposits, with just over 11.5 percent selecting pre-paid cards; 4.7 percent e-wallets and only 0.7 percent conventional bank transfers.