FDJ enjoys €1.08bn in net revenue in H1 as EC investigation looms

| By Marese O'Hagan
La Française des Jeux (FDJ) has reported group net revenue of €1.08bn (£937m/$1.3bn) in a successful first half of 2021, despite news of a European Commission investigation into the monopoly earlier this week.

This was a rise of 29.5% compared to €849m recorded in the first half of 2020, in a H1 affected by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdowns.

The lottery operator hailed the UEFA European Football Championship and bar re-openings as reasons for accelerated growth in its second quarter.

Stakes totaled at €9.15bn. Lottery stakes made up €6.87bn of this total, a rise of 18.9% year-on-year. €4.28bn of the lottery stakes comprised of instant lottery games, such as scratch cards, while the remaining €2.59bn came from draw games.

Sports betting stakes also rose significantly to €2.26bn from €1.10bn recorded in H1 2020, an increase of 109.0%. €2.69bn of these overall stakes came through either online or digital points of sale.

€6.29bn of the €9.15bn overall bets was paid out as player winnings. This left the gross gaming revenue at €2.86bn. FDJ’s contribution to public finances, at 31.3% of GGR, left the net gaming revenue at €1.08bn.

The operator’s total revenue was affected by expenses. Cost of sales took up the most expense, at €591m, an increase of 34.0% year on year. Marketing and communications cost €195m, up 32.6%. Other administrative costs came to €98m.

Overall, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the half amounted to €261m, a rise of 50% compared to 2020’s first half.

Amortization costs decreased this by €63m, leaving the total net operating revenue at €198m, a 59.6% rise year on year.

“The second quarter confirmed a recovery of our activities to levels higher than those recorded before the crisis,” said Stéphane Pallez, CEO of FDJ.

“In the absence of new restrictive measures linked to the evolution of the health situation, the Group anticipates maintaining good momentum in the second half of the year and is confident in its business and results outlook while respecting its responsible gaming model.”

This week, the European Commission announced an investigation into FDJ to discover whether EU laws were violated when FDJ paid €380m to remain the exclusive retail and lottery betting operator of the country after its privatisation.

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