FRENCH GAMBLING MONOPOLY IN EXPANSION MODE
"The main risk is not to take risks; inaction is a risk," says CEO of FDJ
FDJ (Francaise des Jeux) chief executive Stephane Pallez (57) has outlined her expansion plans for the massive online and land gambling group on the eve of a trip to Singapore to attend the World Lottery Summit.
Reporting on her strategy, the Bloomberg business news agency noted that her ambitious plan is based on international partnerships and high-tech investments as global competition in online betting intensifies.
During her trip she will be promoting the growth of the companys key lottery assets along with her latest initiative, FDJ Gaming Solutions, a business which sells lottery technologies, services and games to other gambling groups.
The FDJ group boasted revenues of Euro 13.65 billion in 2015 and is ranked fourth among the worlds largest lottery groups. It contributes Euro 3 billion in taxes annually to the French government.
Pallez was recruited to run the company in 2014, tasked with transforming it into an online gaming enterprise sufficiently attractive to draw in a younger and increasingly important demographic closely attuned to the internet and mobile communications.
"All lotteries are faced with the same challenge, which is how to remain attractive to the Millennial population," Pallez said during her interview with Bloomberg, explaining that she intends to expand her domestic offer of lottos, scratch cards and online games with innovations to lure younger players who prefer casual games like "Candy Crush".
FDJ also plans to invest Euro 500 million over the next three years, of which Euro 250 million will be dedicated to boosting IT systems and more than Euro 20 million allocated for partners who can help develop new games and services.
Pallez revealed that FDJ supplied Portugal with its national sports-betting platform in 2015, and that she is eyeing possibilities in Asia, and specifically China, where she has developed a ticket partnership with China Welfare Lottery, the country’s No. 2 player.
“I haven’t set a number target at this stage for our international expansion,” she told Bloomberg. “This is all additional profitability for our investments in France.”
Pallez has definite views on risk, saying: "The main risk is not to take risks; inaction is a risk. A monopoly which doesn’t innovate is a monopoly running a serious risk of being ‘Uberized.’"