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French Market Posts Modest Increase

Despite the continuing contraction in its poker vertical, the French igaming market recorded a modest increase in gross gaming revenue (GGR), ARJEL announced this week.

In the last twelve months, poker, sports and horse betting generated €698 million in revenue, up 4% from €672 million in 2011. The country’s sports betting market was boosted by last summer’s London Olympics: the €19 million wagered on the event contributed to a 14% year-over-year increase in amounts staked in the third quarter.

Despite the slight increase in GGR, amounts staked across all verticals dipped 1% to €9.4 billion. According to the report, €988 million was deposited into customer accounts in 2012, down 7% from the €1.06 billion in 2011.

Poker results also continued to disappoint. Cash game turnover was down 5% year-over-year to €6.82 billion, though tournament entries were up 21% to €1.4 billion. Total GGR in the poker vertical slipped 2% in third quarter compared to the same period last year, completing four consecutive quarters of revenue contraction in 2012.

The number of online operators in the country fell nearly 40% last year. The market now has 22 licensed operators compared to 35 at the end of 2011. Nine licenses were repealed in 2012, with only two new licenses issued and two renewed. The most notable withdrawals: Titan, jumping ship in July, and 888, which returned its license in December.

Following the publication of third-quarter results last autumn, ARJEL conceded that the poker market was “entering a phase of stabilization and even decline due to a lack of new players.” The market has seen contraction and consolidation because of onerous taxation and insufficient liquidity. Until these issues are addressed, it will continue to flounder.

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