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French online betting grows but profits remain elusive

| By iGB Editorial Team

France’s online betting volumes continued to grow impressively in 2015 but the country’s igaming market is still precarious, year-end figures from the country’s regulator ARJEL reveal.   

The figures show that online betting revenues from regulated operators did not slow down in 2015, despite no major football tournament such as the 2014 World Cup taking place. 

Betting stakes rose 30% during 2015, reaching €1.44bn, while stakes placed in the fourth quarter of the year beat all previous records and reached €452m, the highest volume since the market regulated in 2010.

The rise in betting volumes is a result of an 8% rise in the number of weekly active punters to 200,000 and an increase of 1.8 points in the pay out ratio to 81.3%, which led to French punters betting more.

Gross profits were up 19% for betting operators to €270m on 2014’s figure of €227m. However, with operators’ taxes based on stakes the level of taxation works out at 46% of gross profits and net profits for online betting, the actual amount operators are left with and from which they pay their running costs, rose just 6% in 2015.  

French-licensed betting operators recorded losses of €11m in 2014 and it is highly likely that they will continue to be loss-making in 2015.   

In terms of market share, new entrant Winamax, which diversified by launching a betting site in May 2014 and Unibet have been highly aggressive in going after French players.

Stakes for horse racing pari mutuel were down 2% to €1bn, their lowest level since 2010, while online poker cash game stakes saw a further drop of 14% to €3.7bn although entry fees for tournaments rose 14% to €1.7bn.

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