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France’s National Gaming Authority (ANJ) Report Very Strong Momentum for Online Sports Betting & Growth in the Lottery Market for 2021

April 30, 2022 | Lottery Sales

FRANCE (April 25, 2022) — After a year 2020 marked by a significant drop-in activity due to restrictions linked to the health crisis, the turnover of the gambling sector in France returns to growth in 2021, with a turnover of €10.7 billion (+7% compared to 2020). This dynamic is mainly driven by the enthusiasm for online sports betting, which is experiencing exceptional growth (+44%) and the vigorous recovery of lottery activities (+16%).

Activity of monopoly operators (FDJ and PMU)

With gross gaming revenue (GGR) reaching 8.5 billion euros, the gambling activity offered by operators holding exclusive rights ( La Française des Jeux for lottery and sports betting in points of sale, Pari Mutuel Urbain for horse racing betting at points of sale) is the first pillar of the French market (70% of GGR). This activity shows a remarkable level of overall growth compared to last year (+ around 12%), benefiting from an environment which has normalized (reopening of almost all points of sale since June and a sports calendar and equestrian which returns to its usual format).

This growth is mainly driven by the strength of the lottery offer, whose GGR amounts to 5.037 billion euros in 2021 [1] (+16%) and which is based on a dynamic level of stakes, particularly on the digital channel (+42% compared to 2020, these bets now represent 11% of total bets).

After a difficult 2020 financial year, marked by a fall in the gross income from games and bets, the monopoly horse racing activity is returning to growth, with a GGR of 1.554 billion euros (+ 14% compared to 2020) . In 2021, PMU’s turnover at the point of sale remains below its level before the health crisis (€1.8 billion in 2019).

This dynamic contrasts sharply with the situation of casinos, marked by more than six months of closure, which posted a GGR of 1.08 billion euros as of October 31, 2021 , i.e. a decline of 41% compared to its previous level.

Spectacular growth in online games

The online gambling activity (sports betting, horse race betting and poker) continued its strong growth in 2021 (+24% compared to 2020) and recorded a new record to cross the threshold of 2 billion euros ( 2.2 billion euros) of PBJ . This online market turnover now represents around 20% of the sector’s overall turnover (compared to 17% in 2020). This segment of the offer contributes to rejuvenating the pool of players and is asserting itself as an increasingly strong driver of the gambling market in France, in a context of accelerating digitization of gambling practices. The number of active player accounts (CJA) is also growing with more than 5.4 million active accounts on the various sites and applications of licensed operators (+11% compared to 2020).

Online sports betting: a powerful driver of market development

The growth of online gambling is mainly driven by sports betting, which experienced spectacular growth (+44%) over the period, with a record level of stakes (7.89 billion euros) and a product gaming gross which crossed the symbolic threshold of one billion euros to reach 1.4 billion euros. This exceptional increase compared to 2020 benefited from an attractive sports calendar, culminating in the Euro 2020 football tournament which generated 445 million euros in stakes. Football remains by far the sporting discipline that generates the most bets.

In 2021, sports betting represents 82% of active player accounts (AGA) in the online gaming sector. The number of CJAs in sports betting increased by 16% in 2021 compared to 2020, to 4.5 million. Finally, the turnover per active player account grew by around 25% to reach 303 euros in 2021, a sign that the market is still expanding.

Online horse racing betting: growth momentum despite a slowdown at the end of the year

In 2021, the total stakes on the horse racing offer amounted to 1.583 billion euros, up 7% compared to 2020 and 44% compared to 2019 . The offer of French races represents 80% of the stakes of the activity in 2021.

Unlike the PBJ and the stakes, the number of horse racing bettors fell slightly in 2021 to 624,000 players but with more intensive gambling, as evidenced by the turnover per active player account of 601 euros, up 7% compared to 2020.

Online poker: maintaining a consistently high standard

Poker is the second largest activity in the online market in terms of turnover, with its results contributing 20% ​​to the total turnover of the sector. Driven by unprecedented enthusiasm during the health crisis, the online poker market experienced exceptional growth in activity in 2020. In 2021, this momentum came to an end, with a 4% drop in GGR compared to 2020, i.e. an amount of 429 million euros. However, it remains much higher than that of 2019 (+58%).

The number of participants in online poker games (approximately 1.7 million CJA) fell by 10% compared to 2020. It remains however much higher than that of the years preceding the year 2020. The average individual expenditure has increased by +7%, i.e., 259 euros per CJA, which is its highest level in recent years

Summary of online gaming activity data in 2021

    2020 202 Change 2021/2020
sport bets Number of CJAs 3,865,000 4,474,000 +16%
  Stakes €5,352 million €7,891 million +47%
  Gross Gaming Revenue €940m €1,355 million +44%
Horse betting Number of CJAs 628,000 625,000 -1%
  Stakes €1,473m €1,583M +7%
  Gross Gaming Revenue €354m 375M€ +6%
Poker Number of CJAs 1,840,000 1,663,000 -10%
  Gross Gaming Revenue 446M€ 429M€ -4%
Total online games Number of CJAs 4,891,000 5,435,000 +11%
  Gross Gaming Revenue €1,740m €2,159m +24%

Read the report

Analysis of the gambling market (year 2021) (PDF, 31 pages, 1 MB)

SOURCE: Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ).

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