Trends for France’s igaming verticals were confirmed on Tuesday when the country’s online gaming regulator ARJEL revealed that fourth quarter stakes for online poker cash games dropped 23% to €1.2bn, with gross gaming revenues down 12% during the final months of 2013 to €65m.
Annual figures showed gross gaming revenues and stakes for online poker cash games had dropped 13% and 18% to €258m and €5.5bn respectively during 2013. Stakes for tournaments were up 5% to €1.4bn, although this was not enough to make up for the drop in cash game figures.
France’s online gaming operators generated €325m in tax revenues, excluding VAT, ARJEL said.
Sports betting continued its upward trend, with a 41% rise in stakes to €264m and a 38% rise in gross win to €54m during the three month period. Over the 12-month period, stakes rose 20% to €848m and gross win was up 19% to €164m, helped by football’s popularity, stakes on the beautiful game were up 39% in 2013. Basketball and tennis also proved attractive to punters as stakes on those sports rose 36% and 25% during the year.
PMU ’s move away from offline pari mutuel and focus on online betting, poker and international business enabled it to make up for a 3% drop in the French group’s historic vertical as tough economic conditions continue to impact its traditional customer base across France in 2013.
The group, which describes itself as France’s number one site overall for betting and gaming, recorded a 22,4% rise in online betting stakes to €199m thanks to strong interest in the country’s Ligue 1 football championship and a 10% rise in online poker stakes to €570m during 2013.
Gross gaming revenues for online betting were up 20,7% to €38.5m and rose 19,5% for online poker to €21.6m, enabling “PMU to strengthen its position as number 3” in the French online poker market behind PokerStars and Winamax. Stakes for online pari mutuel were down 3% to €943.2m.
International bets placed on PMU races through its syndication deals outside France rose 93,6% to €638.3m and helped offset the 5,3% drop to €7.9bn in stakes across its retail outlets. Overall, horse racing stakes dropped 1,8% to €9.6bn with gross gaming revenues rising 0.2% to €2,48bn in 2013.
Online betting operators licensed in France have submitted their feedback to the country’s Competition Authority in reference to the splitting up of Pari Mutuel Urbain’s online and offline activities.
The Authority will assess all stakeholder feedback and hold consultation hearings in order to change or add to the amendments and comments supplied, it should then announce the guidelines it expects PMU to follow in the next two to three months with regard to carrying out the effective separation of its online and offline businesses.
The consultation period followed the Authority’s announcement in October that PMU, Europe’s leading horse racing pari mutuel company and overwhelming online tote in France with 86.4% market share, had agreed to separate its online and offline activities, a move private operators believe will make the working environment more even and competitive.