Online sports betting drives 7% French GGR growth for 2021

France’s National Gaming Authority (ANJ) has reported a return to growth in 2021, recording €10.7bn ($11.5bn) in revenue from the country’s gambling sector.

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Prompted by pandemic-related restrictions, 2020 saw a significant drop in activity, but a shift towards online and the easing of public health measures in 2021 has set France’s gaming industry on the road to recovery.

Overall, revenue is up 7% year-over-year, driven by “enthusiasm for online sports betting.” Gross gaming revenue (GGR) for this sector amounted to over €1.3bn, up 44% from 2020, while a record €7.89bn was wagered for a 47% increase.

France’s two monopoly operators, La Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) and Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU), were responsible for more than half of 2021’s GGR.

FDJ generated over €5bn, while PMU produced approximately €1.6bn, up 16% and 14% on year-over-year basis respectively. However, while FDJ’s GGR exceeded pre-pandemic levels, PMU continued to underperform when compared to 2019, for which it generated €1.8bn.

Casinos, meanwhile, continued to feel Covid’s impact in 2021. As of 31 October, casinos’ GGR amounted to €1.08bn, representing a 41% year-over-year decline.

“The turnover of the gambling market, affected by the health crisis in 2020, which particularly affected the ‘hard’ game offer, returned to growth in 2021,” stated the ANJ.

It added: “From a longer-term perspective, the gambling market has increased since 2017. The overall GGR has thus increased by almost 7% since 2017, from €10bn to around €10.7bn.

“This progress is very clearly driven by online games, more specifically online sports betting. At the end of 2021, the turnover of the online market represented approximately 20% of the sector’s overall turnover, compared to 9.5% in 2017.”

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