Last year was a good one for the French online gambling industry, with an overall growth of 18.1% from the previous year. The betting turnover rose to a record €5bn. The most significant progress came in the fourth quarter of the year with a wager of €1.5bn.
The online gambling market’s good fortune is seen in the total wager amount and the number of active bettors rose to 1.92 million. Horse racing and online Poker were two of the most prominent driving forces of the surge, with betting revenue rising €271m and €272m at the end of the year. The categories contributed considerably to the rise in revenue by 27.3%.
The impressive traction, however, was expected to be halted by the pandemic and its restriction aftermath enforced by various governments. The economic downturn may take its toll on the French, Canada and several countries in the world. Lack of sporting actions due to their cancellations and the reduction in the spending power of the Sports bettors, which was the major contributor to the impressive number achieved, is expected to reduce the betting activities.
How the French betting companies with online casinos are coping
Surprisingly, the dip in betting actions due to restrictions did not impact negatively as earlier predicted. Figures from the first quarter of the year showed a 21.8% rise compared to the first day of January to the end of March of 2018. Revenue of €435 million was reported and signs are good that the positive trend will continue.
A record-breaking amount of €98 million was generated within the period, beating the previous record of €86 million in the first quarter of 2011. The spike in revenue is a result of the lockdown policy, which increased the activity of old gamblers and brought new players to online gambling. The growth was most significant in March by 180%.
The betting operators took advantage of a spike in activities to offer players to tournaments as a replacement for no sporting excitement. The initiative raised the tournament revenue by 55.6%. However, the pandemic, lockdown, and no sporting activities were seen to decrease by 4.4% to €1.22 billion. The sports betting contributed most to the reduction.
Other iGaming Products and strategies helping the betting operators survive the lockdown
One of the iGaming betting categories that fill the spot left by the cancellation of sporting activities is esports. The popularity of the virtual sport grew steadily before the pandemic, and it took a steeper upturn due to the epidemic. Over 24 million users actively engaged on Steam, the online gaming platform, in March and April. The data upsurge the earlier peak of 18 million users in February.
Just as the esports betting saw a significant increase in steaming activities; it also experienced staggering growth in betting actions resulting in a 500% increase. An indication of the popularity is a top operator making giant strides to enter the betting market. One such is Lunchbox that is planning to go public and getting listed on the Toronto Venture Exchange (TSXV) in May.
The popular betting websites are also taking advantage of the pandemic’s unstoppable esports status to introduce and popularize its betting on the site. Betway is one of the top betting companies leveraging on to bring sports betting to Canada, both in English and French and other gambling industries where it is legal. With features that allow players to stream matches and tournaments live from their websites or dedicated apps, esports betting is becoming seamless and a major betting category.
With the French government and others systematically releasing the lockdown, it is expected that normality will return slowly but steady. The return of sporting actions may not be all smooth, especially with restrictions and no spectators. It will be interesting to see the impact of the lockdown and its relaxation on the betting industry’s second-quarter report.