ANJ: Casino activity rises by over eight per cent in 2023

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Autorité Nationale des Jeux, France’s gambling authority, has stated that gross gaming revenue from the country’s operators rose by over three per cent year-over-year, with casino activity growing by more than eight per cent.

The authority added that ahead of a sport-filled summer with the UEFA European Football Championship and the Olympic Games, operators must be more vigilant to customers showing potential signs of problem gambling.

The 2023 report on France’s gambling market by the ANJ noted that all market segments achieved GGR growth for the first time since 2019, with overall turnover improving by 3.5 per cent in comparison to the previous year to €13.4bn.

Casino activity rose by 8.1 per cent YoY to a record level GGR of €2.7bn. The authority stated that 73.8 per cent of casinos have now returned to a GGR level that is higher than what was achieved in 2019, with slot machines contributing the most towards GGR at above 80 per cent.

Activity across the seven gaming clubs improved to help GGR increase by 10.9 per cent in comparison to the previous year to €119m (2022: €107.3m).

“This good health of the market demonstrates that demanding regulation is not an obstacle to development,” commented Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, President of the ANJ.

“This growth makes all the more relevant the objective of reducing the number of excessive gamblers that the ANJ has placed at the centre of its action for the years to come.”

ANJ stated that operators under exclusive rights – Française des Jeux and Pari Mutuel Urbain – represented 62.7 per cent of total GGR reported in 2023.

FDJ set a new activity record with GGR up 1.8 per cent YoY to €6.6bn with 27 million players, up six per cent. Point-of-sale sports betting and competing activities GGR grew by 10.4 per cent to €1.08bn, representing 16.2 per cent of the group’s total GGR.

Meanwhile, PMU’s horse racing betting activity only rose slightly in 2023, with stakes and GGR improving by around one per cent to €6.8bn and €1.7bn respectively, but activity has now returned to levels seen in 2019.

For online, GGR rose by 7.2 per cent YoY to €2.3bn from 16 operators, representing a 17.5 per cent market share of the country’s total gambling market. 2023’s online figures are also a 0.8 per cent improvement against 2021 numbers.

Per segment, sports betting led the way with 63.3 per cent of the total online GGR, followed by poker with 21.6 per cent and horse racing with 15.1 per cent. The number of unique players stood at 3.6 million, increasing in all segments except sports betting.

Online sports betting GGR from 16 operators rose by 6.4 per cent to €1.5bn, with wagering up 2.2 per cent to €8.49bn. However, the number of unique players and active accounts have declined by 7.3 per cent and 3.9 per cent respectively.

ANJ highlighted that the decline in players alongside the rise in wagers has increased average stakes. Falque-Pierrotin added that operators must be aware of more customers showing signs of problem gambling this summer with the heavy sports calendar.

She said: “In a 2024 context marked by the holding of two major sporting events (Euro 2024 football and the Paris Olympic Games), the ANJ reminded operators that, due to the risk of intensification of gaming practices, they will have to exercise increased vigilance with regard to the prevention of gambling among minors and gambling behaviour, particularly among vulnerable people (notably 18-24-year-olds).”

Per sport, football saw €4.4bn in wagers, tennis had €1.9bn, basketball had €899m and rugby had €247m, with these sports collectively representing 88.5 per cent of online sports wagers. However, this percentage share has declined following other sports’ growth.

Online horse racing betting achieved a GGR of €353m, up 1.9 per cent, with €1.5bn in wagering, which is a 5.1 per cent increase. The vertical’s number of unique players increased by 1.5 per cent as well.

Poker GGR rose by 14.1 per cent YoY to €504m GGR with multi-table tournaments and sit&go representing more than 77 per cent of the GGR.