Written On  4/14/11 By staff writer Frank Polliern :

Wagering revenues take a serious dip

Legal online sports betting in France appears to be undergoing a serious decline, according to reports in the newspaper Le Figaro this week, which claim that wagering revenues dived by a shocking 26.5 percent in Q1 2011 when compared with the previous quarter.

Le Figaro was analysing statistics presented by French regulator ARJEL, which stressed that because the French market was only liberalised in May last year there was no point of comparison with Q1 2010.

Le Figaro noted that there had been no major sporting event in the period.

ARJEL president Jean-Francois Vilotte commented: “This is a significant decrease, but does not mean that sports betting will be down more than 20 percent this year.”

The French regulatory regime has come under sustained attack from many operators, claiming mainly that taxation levels are too high, thus encouraging the continued use of illegal (in France) offshore betting facilities.

It is believed that as much as 75 percent of the French market may be serviced by operators who are not authorised to do so under French law.

The bright spot in the ARJEL numbers was probably horse race betting, which rose by Euro 241 million and was well ahead when compared to the amount wagered in the first four months of French gambling liberalisation.

Online poker also appears to have prospered, with revenues growing to Euro 1.9 billion in the quarter