According to latest report in the French daily Le Figaro, sports internet betting in France has decreased by over twenty six percent in the first quarter of 2011. Among the major reasons for the decline, according to the newspaper, in a lack of any significant sporting events during this time of the year.
Jean-Francois Vilotte, president of the gaming regulator ARJEL which was created under French gambling laws, stressed that it’s pointless to compare to Q1 of 2010, since the French market only opened last May. “This is a significant decrease, but this does not mean that sports betting will be down more than 20% this year,” he said.
The decline is another disappointment for the internet gambling market in France, which didn’t enjoy an easy start and was subject to heavy criticism. CEO of a large sports betting group described his company as “learning which tactics work and which don’t.”
He went on to add that – “The French government… admitted that they went too far with the high tax rate imposed on licensed sports betting operations, and they believe that about 75% of all sports gamblers in France still bet through the illegal black market.”
The only other bright spot in the ARJEL published results was the horse racing industry which experienced a €241m growth while online poker sites in France gross increased to €1.9b in Q1 of 2011. Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU), the former monopoly, has also done well with an 8.3% growth up to €791m. It’s online gambling division’s profits grew by a record 57% with profits at €318m.