International edition
September 19, 2020

Jean-Francois Vilotte spoke at a conference in Monaco

French regulation working despite shrinking numbers, claims ARJEL chief

(Monaco / France).- Despite the organisation’s own figures showing the market is currently just a quarter the size of that prior to regulation, French online sports betting regulations are achieving their objective of bringing activity onshore, ARJEL regulator president said at a conference in Monaco, according to a EGR Magazine’s report.

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ccording to data released by ARJEL to La Tribune, two million player accounts have been opened since regulation.

Responding to an audience question on the Online Sports Betting: what are the stakes for sport? panel at Sportel in Monaco, ARJEL president Jean-Francois Vilotte said: “The law to regulate online sports betting had nothing to do with tax levies. The aim was to go from illegal to legal demand without an explosion of demand. We did not want more online gaming or for this to explode. We are in line with what we anticipated before we implemented the system. For the French government, this was never tax related. There has been much parliamentary debate about this – we hardly have an explosion.”

Vilotte was speaking two days after ARJEL released its first figures since market regulation in June. This showed that a quarter of the French online gambling market, estimated at 1 billion euros prior to being opened to competition five months ago, had switched to legal sites.

According to information released by ARJEL to La Tribune, two million player accounts have been opened since regulation, with an average of 500,000 active players a week betting an average of 100 euros a week, or 7 euros a bet on sports, horse racing and poker. But while horse racing had performed in line with forecasts, capturing 215 million euros in bets, allowing incumbent operator PMU to capture the bulk of a market which Vilotte described as “not having the same market fragmentation as sports betting”, betting on football fell short of ARJEL’s projections.

These accounted for 56% of sports betting stakes during the four-month period, compared to ARJEL’s projection of 70 to 80%, with a marked drop-off after the French team exited the World Cup.

New entrants to the market were however conspicuous by their absence from yesterday’s well-attended panel examining how the integrity of sports could be safeguarded with the advent of legalised online sports betting in France. The president of Francaise de Jeux, Christophe Blanchard-Dignac, and Pari Mutuel Urbain's chief communication officer Benoit Cornu appeared on the panel alongside Denis Masseglia, president of the French Olympic Association, and Franceso Ricci Bitti of the International Tennis Federation.

As Christophe Blot, managing director of new entrant SAJOO, told eGaming Review yesterday: “It’s a new market, logically it would have made sense for new operators to offer different opinions to compare with those of the established physical operators.”
The first day of French first online gaming industry event since the opening of the market, Monaco iGaming Exchanges, also took place yesterday at the same venue in the principality.

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