French online Q1 GGR grows 22%; coronavirus impact expected to hit Q2 harder

By Iqbal Johal

France’s online gaming revenue for Q1 2020 grew 22% year-on-year, despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic from mid-March.

French regulator ARJEL released figures which showed gross gaming revenue (GGR) up to 31 March rose to €435m ($491.9m), thanks largely to strong poker performance.

Poker amounted for 23% of total GGR, up 4%, while sports betting represented 60%, down 2%.

Poker GGR grew 44% to a record €98m, with nearly 30% of revenue generated in the last two weeks of the quarter after the suspension of live sport, which saw poker activity rise 180%.

Weekly average players also grew, increasing 37% to 374,000.

Sports betting GGR rose 18% to €263m; however wagers were down 4% to €1.22bn, the first decline in nine years, which was due to French Ligue 1 and 2 being suspended on 13 March, eventually cancelled in late April.

Since the suspension, sports bets were down 40% and while average player accounts increased 2% to 655,000 for Q1, only 220,000 were active in the last two weeks of March.

Horseracing GGR was up 10% to €74m. Handle was also up 10%, to €300m, the highest amount for any quarter in seven years.

Despite the overall rise in online GGR, ARJEL warned the full effect of the pandemic won’t be fully felt until Q2, based on the trends shown by certain verticals in the final weeks of Q1.

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