French GGR rises 7% in 2021, but still below pre-Covid levels

| By Marese O'Hagan
French gambling regulator l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) has revealed that gross gambling revenue (GGR) for the gambling sector hit €10.70bn (£9.02bn/$11.48bn) in the country in 2021, a rise of 7% compared to Covid-hit 2020.
FDJ enjoys 2021 revenue increase

However, this is still slightly lower than the sector’s performance in 2019, which was €11.10bn.

This is part of the regulator’s annual yearly review, wherein statistics for the sector are published.

This edition marks the first year that the economic performances of all markets, players and segments are included in the report.

The two monopolies that hold exclusive rights in France – FDJ and PMU – plus the country’s land-based casinos, accounted for €8.60bn of this, 3.6% more than in 2020.

France’s lottery operator, La Française des Jeux (FDJ), took in wagers worth €18.9bn in 2021- up by 18.9%. Scratchcard games accounted for €8.98bn of this, while draw games brought in stakes of €5.74bn. Sports bets came to €4.21bn.

FDJ spent €414.7m on marketing in 2021, 25.7% more than in 2020.

Pari Mutual Urbain (PMU), France’s horse racing monopoly, took in wagers of €6.0bn in 2021. This was an increase of 13.2% year-on-year.

Online made up the remaining €2.2bn of the annual total, rising 29.4%. Of this online figure, €1.35bn came from sports betting – up 44.1%. Poker and horse race betting, at €429m and €375m respectively, accounted for the remainder of the total.

Land-based casinos, meanwhile, posted GGR of €1.08bn throughout 2021, falling 41%. This was due to casinos in France being closed between November 1 2020 and October 30 2021.

Active player accounts hit an all-time high in 2021, at 5.4 million. This was a rise of 11.1% year-on-year. This consisted of 3.8 million unique players registered on online betting platforms, holding an average of 1.44 accounts each.

The report also included the results of a study carried out by market research agency Harris Interactive, which found that 48% of the adult population in France gamble. Out of the 2,500 people surveyed, scratch and draw games were the most popular form of gambling, with 93% of respondents.

The report also paid particular attention to advertising after ANJ warned the sector about its advertising activities last year. In September 2021, ANJ launched a public consultation on gambling advertising, after it concluded that “a line was crossed” during advertising for the 2020 Euros football tournament.

Earlier in the year the regulator announced a five-point action plan for tighter restrictions on gambling advertising by the end of 2021, with a focus on ensuring that minors are not targeted.

Online and monopoly operators were found to have invested mostly in digital advertising in 2021, with 37% doing so. Television was the second most popular advertising investment, at 31%, while billboards came third with 11%.

The regulator noted that although digital advertising sees a good return on investment, social media platforms that are popular with minors – such as TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat – are used regularly, which could expose underage individuals to gambling.

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