World Cup drives French market growth in third quarter
French regulator ARJEL has cited the impact of the football World Cup as a key driver of a 21% year-on-year increase in online gaming revenue during the third quarter of 2018.
Total gross gaming revenue grew to €271m, largely thanks to the stellar performance of the sports betting vertical, which reported a 40% jump in revenue to €149m. Punters wagered a total of €995m (£868m/$1.12bn) online in the three months to the end of September, compared to €549m in the corresponding period last year.
The quarter included the latter stages of the 2018 Fifa World Cup, where the French national team was crowned champions after seeing off Croatia 4-2 in the final on July 15. The competition had already boosted France’s market in Q2, leading to record online sports bets of over €1bn.
Wagering on the 14 World Cup games from the start of July through to the final amounted to €163.7m, or 16% of total sports stakes for the period.
The final generated €38.5m in online sports betting turnover, the highest amount a single event has attracted since France regulated its domestic market in 2010. This was some way ahead of the previous record of €12.7m, wagered on the 2016 UEFA European Championship final between France and Portugal in Paris.
The World Cup had a positive impact on player activity, with the average number of active accounts per week for the vertical up 84% to 553,000 accounts.
Betting on horse racing also enjoyed a successful quarter, with total wagers up 4% at €254m and GGR rising to €63m.
France's online poker market also posted growth, aided by the pooling of liquidty with Spanish and Portuguese markets. The vertical saw revenue grow 3% to €59m, aided by a 13% increase in cash game stakes to €1bn. Tournament entry fees rose 7% to €528m for the quarter. This was accompanied by a 4% increase in active accounts per week, which rose to 238,000.
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