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PMU reports H1 revenue decline despite French racing growth

| By Daniel O'Boyle

Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) has reported revenue of €4.76bn for the first six months of 2019, a 2.8% year-on-year decline.

However, the operator's saw revenue from betting on French horse racing vertical grow 0.5%, which PMU said showed efforts to halt the vertical's decline were paying off.

For the six months to June 30, revenue from horse racing was down 1.7% year-on-year to €4.4bn. PMU's core French horse race betting division saw revenue decline 1.6% to €3.8bn, while the contribution from international markets fell 2.8% to €551m. 

Although horse racing continued to make up the vast majority of much of PMU’s takings in H1, much of the decline came from steep drops in revenue for sports bets and poker. Both suffered double-digit revenue losses, with sports betting revenue down 16.6% to €125m. The prior year included the group stages and two second round matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

In the second quarter of the year, to June 30, total revenue came in at €2.3bn, down 1.7% from Q2 2018. The operator again saw significant drops in sports betting and poker revenue, down 24.2% and 11.2% respectively. While the core horse racing vertical reported a marginal decline in revenue to €2.1bn, PMU saw revenue from France climb 0.5% to €1.9bn, which was offset by a 4.8% drop in international revenue to €265m. The French growth was largely down to a 3.1% year-on-year increase in revenue for June 2019. 

“The slight growth of the horse racing activity in France by 0.5% in the second quarter shows that our initiatives to increase betting activity are beginning to produce results,” PMU chief executive Cyril Linette said. “This is all the more encouraging as it is the first positive quarter since 2011, excluding periods in which a new product was launched.

“We will continue our efforts to simplify our offering and improve services for bettors and network partners.”

Bertrand Méheut, Chairman of the Board of Directors, credited Linette’s team for the increase in horse racing revenues.

“The board of directors welcomes the results achieved by the PMU through extensive work on the product offering, the points of sale network and the branding, led by Cyril Linette and his team,” Méheut said.

“The gradual improvement of the activity from month to month confirms the strategic initiatives adopted are effective,” he continued. “Nevertheless, a return to sustainable growth in customer activity depends on the ability of all stakeholdres to work together to improve operating costs and the range of bets and races.”

PMU launched a new advertising campaign in April of this year. According to an Ipsos study, 63% of have had a favourable reaction to the campaign, with this figure rising to 73% among sales partners, and 89% among regular PMU bettors.

“With our new advertising campaign, work on improving the PMU brand is underway,” Linette said. “Many other projects are opening up. It's a long-term job, but the way is laid out. I salute the work of our staff and I know that I can count on them to continue our recovery.”

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