SBC News ANJ: French gambling hits GGR high note of €13.4bn

ANJ: French gambling hits GGR high note of €13.4bn

SBC News ANJ: French gambling hits GGR high note of €13.4bn
Jake Pollard:

France’s gambling sector grows as regulator says “demanding regulation is not a brake on growth”.

France’s sports betting and gaming operators saw their gross gaming revenues rise 3.5% YoY and reach €13.4bn in 2023. National regulator the Autorité Nationale des Jeux said all market verticals had “recorded GGR growth after a (period of) stabilisation in 2022” linked to Covid19 and that 2023’s GGR was “the highest level of activity” ever recorded by the sector.

However, ANJ also reminded operators that they would have to be “particularly attentive to the gambling practices of punters to ensure that intensification (of playing patterns) does not accelerate” in 2024, especially with the Euro 2024 football tournament and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on the horizon.

The GGR growth rate of 3.5% puts French operators “slightly below the European market growth rate of 5.5% (or €134bn GGR)”, but ANJ noted that the figure was in line with Germany, the UK or Spain and while all market segments were up in 2023, growth scales ranged from +0.9% to +14% across the different verticals.

Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, President of ANJ, commented: “The healthy state of the market demonstrates that demanding regulation is not a brake on development. This growth makes the objective of reducing the number of excessive gamblers, which the ANJ has placed at the heart of its action for the coming years, all the more relevant.”

The Breakdown

Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) with €6.6bn and PMU with €1.7bn generated 62.7% of the overall GGR. For FDJ, land-based and online sports betting grew 10.4% to €1bn and now accounts for 16.2% of the group’s total GGR. Following its integration of online horse racing tote operator ZEturf in Q3, FDJ “is now present in all online gaming segments”, noted ANJ.

PMU‘s business grew by 1% in 2023 to reach €1.7bn in GGR, marking a return to its pre-pandemic levels. The group has also modified five of its products and optimised its racing calendar in order to boost its business.

French casino operators’ GGR grew by 8% to a record €2.7bn. ANJ said that at almost 74%, the majority of the country’s 200 land-based establishments had returned to higher levels than in 2019. Slot machines contributed more than 80% of the GGR. The capital Paris counts seven gaming clubs and their GGR rose by almost 11% to €119m in 2023.

Online operators’ GGR was up 7.2% to €2.3bn, representing 17.5% of the total market. The digital segment is driven by sports betting at 63.3%, online poker is at 21.6% and online horse racing tote betting is at 15%.

While the total number of unique players is up to 3.6 million, online sports betting was the only segment not to see an increase in the number of active accounts (-3.9%), although its GGR was still up +6.4% to €1.5bn, and stakes were up 2.2% to €8.5bn.

The lack of a major sporting event “appears to have led to a decrease in the pool of unique players (-7.3%)”, ANJ noted, and warned that this lack of new player accounts was offset by an increase in the average stakes per active account of +6.3% to €1,982.

ANJ noted that this “may lead to more intensive gambling practices” and online bookmakers will have to be “particularly attentive to the gambling practices of punters to ensure that intensification (of playing patterns) does not accelerate”, particularly among 18-34 year-olds, who account for almost 30% of the number of online players (compared with 12.4% of 35-64 year-olds).

Online horse race betting returned to growth, with its GGR up by almost 2% to €353m and stakes of €1.5bn at +5%. The number of activities rose 4.5% and uniques were up +1.5%, underlining “that horse racing tote betting is attracting new players”, noted ANJ.

Online poker saw a strong upturn in activity, surpassing “the records set during the health (COVID) crisis” with its GGR up 14% to €504m. ANJ said that from 2019-2023, the segment’s average annual GGR growth rate was 16.6% and the number of actives increased 7.7% to 1.9 million.

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