In France, Le Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) and its affiliate Le Pari Mutuel Hippodrome (PMH) hold a complete monopoly over all forms of sports betting. PMU also controls all legal online sportsbooks in France. While this monopoly may be in violation of EU trade laws, it is sanctioned by the French government, which appreciates the tight control that the monopoly exerts over the country’s sports betting industry.
While PMU currently has around 10,000 high-street betting shops set up across the country, internet betting in France is becoming increasingly popular, so the company is looking to expand their online services. A big step towards this goal was made late last week, when PMU announced that they have teamed up with a major Irish bookmaker called Paddy Power. While Paddy Power began life as a wholly land-based sports betting agency, their move online a few years ago proved to be an extremely wise decision. Today, Paddy Power sees almost half of its turn-over and two thirds of all profits coming from their internet sports betting operations.
This gradual shift from high-street bookies to online sportsbooks seems to be happening worldwide as established betting companies make the move to the internet. Even though online bookmakers tend to pay out a few percent more on average than land-based betting shops, France’s PMU appreciates the need to move their focus more towards the internet. They chose Paddy Power because of the company’s apparent success in the online gambling world. In May, for example, Paddy Power acquired 51% of a major Australian online sportsbook. This new deal with PMU further expands their global presence.
Paddy Power will provide a number of services to PMU, including risk management and pricing assessments. PMU intends to revamp their online services, and to launch their improved site sometime early next year.