French gambling regulator L’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) has described the market’s 17.1% year-on-year revenue growth in the third quarter as a “spectacular recovery”.
Revenue grew to €405m (£361.5m/$482.2m) for the three months up until 30 September.
This marked not only a surprising rise on the previous year but a 25.4% rise on the previous quarter, in which France – like many European countries – was under a national lockdown.
Sports betting endured as the country’s strongest vertical, with handle reported to have risen 49.3% to €1.62bn. The rise was cited as “the highest amount recorded in a quarter for 10 years” by the regulator.
The majority of sports wagering was generated by football, at €1.03bn. The major leagues had been forced to defer games during lockdown but were able to complete the 2019-20 season during the third quarter.
The vertical recorded turnover of €228m in Q3 2020, however it was also revealed that average spend per player had fallen by 22% to €104.
The Champions League final between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich generated a handle of more than €31m, becoming the largest single event, second only to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final between France and Croatia.
Tennis saw €299m wagered, beating basketball at €154m. Horse racing also held up well, with wagers amounting to €363m.
Critically, the number of sports bettors rose, with the number of active accounts up 36.8% to 2.2m.
Poker player numbers also rose to 880,000, generating revenue of €90m. This marked a 36.4% rise, with €24m coming from cash games and €66m from tournaments.
However, it was a 36.6% decline from the previous quarter’s high of €142m.
The noted fall of spend-per-player in the sports betting vertical did not deter the regulator from reminding operators of their commitment to provide responsible gambling products.
ANJ President Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin warned operators that the swift market recovery and uptick in player levels for some verticals placed a greater onus on operators to protect their customers.
“Indeed, unlike the first lockdown, the sports and horse betting gambling offer is widely available and this situation can constitute a breeding ground for the development of excessive or risky practices for people weakened by this unprecedented context”, she said.