French industry in need of reform despite record setting 2018

Updated: 04/12/2022

French regulator ARJEL has released its final revenue reports for 2018 showing record rises in both sports betting turnover and betting revenue.

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ARJEL has released its final revenue reports for 2018. © Pexels.

Sports betting more than doubled on the quarter, up 51% to €1.06b, a record amount since the launch of the regulated market in 2010. Betting revenue was up almost a third (32%) to €215m.

Football proved especially popular – boosted no doubt by the 2018 World Cup hosted in France – and grew 54% to €663m. Basketball was second in terms of revenue with 35% growth to €162.7m, while tennis grew a whopping 70% to €111.4m.

For the full year of 2018, betting turnover grew 56% to €3.9b, which is another record. Betting revenue grew 46% to €691m. Online revenue grew by a quarter to €1.205b for the full year and active bettors grew by 40%. However, average spend per person was down 10%.

ARJEL admitted that the World Cup had a big effect, but the Q4 figures show that the new customers attracted have remained.

Despite the positive figures, ARJEL voiced its concern of the “fragility” of the industry. To tackle this, the regulator has said that reform is needed, especially in taxation. Currently, operators are taxed 5.7% of turnover, but the ARJEL is working on proposals to have tax shifted to be a percentage of gross gambling revenues, saying:

The result of this sectoral analysis show that a relative fragility remains: the market could be lifted by a reform of the tax base.Statement, ARJEL

The numbers weren’t so strong for poker. Overall revenue fell 1% in Q4 to €65m. The number of active players grew by 2% to 256k. On the year, poker fared a little better, with revenue growing 5% to €258m. Tournament poker continues to be the most popular form, accounting for 66% of all spend in 2018.

Horse racing has never been strong in France but betting stakes and revenue did grow 2% and 1%, to €275m and €67m respectively.

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