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ANJ reports record France GGR of €13.4bn in 2023

| By Kyle Goldsmith
L'Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), the regulator of gambling in France, has reported the country hit a record gross gambling revenue (GGR) of €13.4bn (£11.6bn/$14.3bn) in 2023.
ANJ France

France’s gambling turnover for 2023 was a 3.5% increase on 2022’s figures, with the ANJ noting that all market segments in the country saw their GGR increase for the first time since 2019. However, the ANJ also pointed to the fact that growth in France is slightly behind the average European growth of 5.5%.

The ANJ outlined that French online gambling was on an upwards trajectory, having seen its numbers stabilise in 2022. The market is still recovering from the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, ANJ president, is confident the relatively tight regulation when compared to other markets is benefitting the French industry.

“This good health of the market demonstrates that demanding regulation is not an obstacle to development,” Falque-Pierrotin said. “This growth makes all the more relevant the objective of reducing the number of excessive gamblers that the ANJ has placed at the centre of its action for the years to come.”

France online gambling on the rise

ANJ pointed to online as an area that is performing particularly well in France, with the sector’s GGR reaching €2.3bn in 2023, a rise of 7.2% year-on-year. This follows moderate growth in 2022, which only saw a 0.8% increase on 2021.

The number of online players stood at 3.6 million, with that figure increasing in all segments bar sports betting. However, online sports betting is still the most invested segment across the online market, with 16 legal operators in the market.

Online sports betting posted GGR growth of 6.4% when compared to 2022, reaching €1.5bn despite the lack of a major sporting event. With a summer coming up that includes Euro 2024 and the Olympic Games, the latter of which will be held in the French capital of Paris, that growth looks set to continue.

Sports betting made up 63.3% of online GGR, with poker and horse racing accounting for 21.6% and 15.1% respectively.

Despite the rise in online GGR, the pool of unique players dropped by 7.3%, while the number of active accounts also fell by 3.9%.

Football was the dominant sport in France in 2023 according to the ANJ, accounting for €4.4bn in handle, while tennis was responsible for €1.9bn. Basketball and rugby were third and fourth with €899m and €247m respectively. Those four sports alone made up 88.5% of online sports betting handle in 2023.

FDJ and PMU flourishing

France’s two exclusive operators, La Française des Jeux and Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU), both saw growth in 2023, accounting for 62.7% of France’s total GGR.

The FDJ performed particularly well with a GGR of €6.6bn in 2023, up 1.8% on 2022. Approximately 27 million French people played with FDJ in 2023, a rise of 6% year-on-year.

FDJ’s 2023 growth was driven by point-of-sale sports betting and competing activities, which rose 10.4% in GGR on 2022. Those activities accounted for 16.2% of FDJ’s group GGR for the year and €1.1bn in gross profit.

FDJ’s strong 2023 has carried over in 2024. Its revenue hit €710m during Q1, a year-on-year revenue rise of 7.2%. Gaming revenue also hit €645m, again a 3.1% increase compared to the same quarter last year.

In January, it was announced that FDJ had submitted an offer of SEK27.96bn (£2.10bn/€2.45bn/$2.67bn) to purchase all of the outstanding share capital of Kindred Group, with FDJ stating afterwards it was looking to form the second biggest operator in European gambling.

PMU, meanwhile, also saw its betting activity grow, although those increases slowed compared to years prior, with GGR at €1.7bn, just a 1% rise on 2022.

ANJ highlights casino as growing sector in France

Casino activity rose by 8.1% in 2023, with the sector reaching a record GGR of €2.7bn over the year.

The ANJ highlighted that those increases affected a majority of casinos in France, with 73.8% of establishments seeing GGR higher than 2019, prior to the pandemic. Slot machines are still a key factor in that growth, with the ANJ approximating slots to contribute over 80% of casino GGR.

Of the seven gaming clubs in France, GGR hit €119m in 2023, 10.9% higher than 2022’s figure of €107.3m.

ANJ warns of gambling practices ahead of busy sporting summer

Despite the increasing GGR in France, the ANJ noted that the rise in betting activity should serve as a warning for operators to pay particularly close attention to harmful play ahead of the packed sporting schedule over the rest of this year.

The decrease in online sports betting players coincided with an approximately 6.3% increase in average stakes per active player, a sign of more intensive play. The ANJ warned operators to be “particularly attentive” to how players are gambling to protect against vulnerable bettors from playing too excessively.

Earlier this month, the ANJ stated “significant progress” had been made in the mission to reduce problem gambling when reviewing operators’ action plans on protecting vulnerable players.

Falque-Pierrotin explained: “In a 2024 context, marked by the holding of two major sporting events (Euro 2024 football and the Paris Olympic Games), the ANJ reminded operators that, due to the risk of intensification of gaming practices, they will have to exercise increased vigilance with regard to the prevention of gambling among minors and gambling behaviour, particularly among vulnerable people (notably 18-24 year olds).” 

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