The French gambling market did well in 2021 with the total gross gambling revenue increasing to €10.7 billion ($11.48 billion) with the lottery and sports betting segments leading the way. The results achieved in 2021 improved on the 2020 figures, but they were still short of the €11.1 billion ($11.91 billion) achieved in 2019 before the pandemic paralyzed much of sports and gambling opportunities.
France’s Online Betting Sector Goes Up
The Autorité Nationale des Jeux reported a significant uptick in online operators with the share of interactive gambling rising to €2.2 billion ($2.36 billion) in fiscal 2021. In comparison, online gambling revenue stood at €1.7 billion ($1.82 billion) in 2020 and only €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion) in 2019, pointing to a perceptible shift in public preferences. The rise of interactive gambling is not exactly unexpected given the dearth of alternative gambling options during the worst of the pandemic.
Sports betting though has bounced right back up with the activity reporting €1.36 billion ($1.46 billion) in gross gaming revenue. In comparison, sports betting generated only €940 million ($1 billion) in 2020. The total amount bet on sports hit €7.9 billion ($8.47 billion), fueled by the Euro 2020 tournament.
A closer look by the ANJ has revealed that 82% of account holders online are focused on sports so far as interactive gambling goes. Turnover by the player, though, inched up noticeably to €303. Online casino products also grew, though, with the igaming segment reaching €2.1 billion ($2.25 billion) and the watchdog estimates that there were at least 5.4 million accounts across various online gambling websites in the country.
France continues to operate in a state of a duopoly by two companies that account for 70% of France’s gross gaming revenue, at least in 2021. Those are Française des Jeux and Pari Mutuel Urbain with both companies seeing an influx of sports bettors. In the meantime, France is preparing for a busy season ahead as the World Cup in Qatar would certainly mean a big spike in the betting handle.
Limiting the Impact of Illegal Gambling Websites
The ANJ has undertaken a comprehensive campaign to start limiting the influence that illegal gambling websites have in France. The regulator said that it would seek to create a blacklist and suspend websites that operate without a license. Much of the illegal sector, though, is thriving partly because of the lack of competition from more private operators, one argument has it. Regardless, the regulated online gambling sector has been growing during the pandemic with a full return still some way off.