Former French Horse Betting Monopoly Thrives in Liberalized Market

Horse racing still main business but poker and sports betting are also getting big.

online sportsbooks in France - GamingZion

It appears that Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU), the former national horse and sports betting monopoly has been able to stay in the race since the 2010 liberalization of the French gambling market. In fact, competing with seven other legal online sportsbooks in France has not hurt the company at all.

“We have managed to take second position in fixed-odds online sports betting and our poker network is in third position behind two pure players,” said PMU President, Philippe Germond at a recent press conference, whereby he presented some figures for 2012 and Q1 2013.

French gambling laws now allow three types of online licenses to be issued: casino games including Poker), horses and sports betting. PMU actually possesses al three types, having diversified its traditional portfolio of horse race betting.

As stated by PMU the year 2012 saw EUR 10.5 billion wagered through the company, including EUR 1.6 billion online, which was a 23% increase year-on-year. Approximately 93% of this latter amount was bet on horses, while the rest was staked on other sports and poker games.

In terms of revenue, PMU generated EUR 2.5 billion in 2012, of which 270 million was made online – a 16% increase compared to the 2011.

The current year started equally well for the French company, with the money staked on sports going up 33% year-on-year, to nearly EUR 50 million in the first three months of 2013. The EUR 139 million wagered on poker during the same period marks a 7.5% increase, confirming the presence of hundreds of thousands of card enthusiasts ready to play online poker in France.

Q1 revenue showed a relatively meager 1.1% growth, which PMU attributed to the economic environment.

“France’s lack of economic growth in the last two quarters of 2012 and during the first quarter of 2013 has had a direct impact on our customers’ spending patterns since every time there is stagnation or a drop in French people’s purchasing power PMU has felt the after-effects,” explained Germond.

Speaking of future plans, he emphasized the importance of attracting a younger generation of players and outlined a plan to repositioning the company before the end of the decade.

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