French sports betting boosted by World Cup

By Brad Allen
French operators reported a €286m sports-betting handle in the second quarter of 2014 for year-on-year growth of 44%.

The improvement was powered by football betting, which grew 76%.

The bookmakers' hold rate also increased to 18%, helping boost revenue to €59m.

The World Cup final contributed €3.4m to that total, with bookmakers profiting from the goalless draw in 90 minutes.

Over the entire tournament French licensed operators accepted €1.5m of bets per game, compared to €1m per game in South Africa 2010.

Charles Coppolani, president of gambling regulator ARJEL, said: "Average bet size did not increase. Wagers remained 10 to 18 Euros per game, which are in line with Ligue 1 betting trends. However the market saw an increase in casual gamers who flocked to place bets during this World Cup."

Outside of the tournament in Brazil, Champions League betting action rose by 27%, while Paris St Germain's dominance in Ligue 1 was blamed for a 12% dip in betting on the French top division.

Tennis was the second most popular sport to bet on, with a handle of €57.2m, as basketball, rugby and volleyball also attracted an increasing number of wagers.

However, poker cash games suffered from the sports-betting boom, with stakes falling 17% to €1.05bn.

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