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GGR from France’s commercial online gambling sector grew by 10.1% year-on-year to €1.18bn in H1 2023, according to statistics published by the Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ).

Commercial sector breakdown

That figure still left the sector slightly behind where it was two years ago in H1 2021, however, when online GGR reached €1.21bn.

Of the H1 2023 total, €750m came from the online sports betting segment, up 9.5% year-on-year.

GGR from horse racing betting grew by 4.7%, meanwhile, to €177m, while online poker GGR leapt 16.2% to €251m.

While all segments recorded year-on-year growth compared to H1 2022, online poker was the only game type to see better results in H1 2023 than in H1 2021.

The ANJ said that was down to several factors in 2021, including the postponed Euro 2020 tournament and the closure of retail betting outlets amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Across all commercial online verticals, there were a total of 3.86 million active player accounts in H1 2023, up 3.3% year-on-year.

Sports betting breakdown

Football remained by far the most lucrative sport for operators within the online betting segment, accounting for 58.2% of all H1 GGR in the segment at €436.8m.

Tennis was the next most popular sport, generating €175.4m in GGR or 23.4% of the total.

Meanwhile, basketball bets accounted for 10.3% of GGR at €76.9m, while rugby generated a further 1.2% of GGR at €9.2m.

The total €750m in online sports betting GGR was generated from €4.19bn in handle, giving operators a hold rate of around 17.9%.

FDJ and PMU

While the commercial online sector continued to grow, France’s state-owned lottery and horse racing operators, La Français des Jeux (FDJ) and Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU), continued to account for the majority of revenue in the French gambling market.

FDJ generated €3.3bn in GGR from €10.48bn in stakes, giving year-on-year growth rates of 2.4% and 4.5% for each of those metrics, respectively.

Meanwhile, PMU generated €873m in GGR, up 0.7%, from €3.43bn in wagers, up 1%.

Changes afoot

In May this year, a new legislative bill was introduced to France’s National Assembly, proposing to introduce regulated online casino to the market.

Despite being home to a lively online betting market and more than 200 land-based casinos, online casino remains forbidden in France.

According to a proposed timeline, French companies are set to be permitted to launch online casino operations in 2025, beginning a five-year ‘moratorium’ period which would see international operators excluded from the market.

According to the bill, that timeline would allow “national players to develop in serene economic conditions before a total opening planned for 1 January 2030.”

Statistics previously published by the ANJ suggest between 1.4 million and 2.4 million French players currently use overseas, unregulated operators to play online casino.

Those figures led strategic advisory business Regulus Partners to suggest that customers in the country currently spend around €2bn annually in the unregulated online casino sector.

The introduction of online casino regulation is therefore expected to significantly bolster the GGR figures of France’s online gambling sector in the coming years.

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