Despite the coronavirus pandemic hitting France hard from mid-March, the country announced a 22% year-on-year increase in online gambling revenue for Q1 2020.
ARJEL, the French gambling regulator, revealed that operators generated €435 million, a lot of which can be attributed to strong performance in the poker sector.
Online poker accounted for 23% of that total, while also enjoying a record overall quarterly figure.
Sports betting revenue also rose, though wagering in this vertical dropped for the first time in nine years.
Breaking down the main verticals
All-in-all, poker revenue stood at €98 million – representing a sizeable year-on-year percentage jump of 44%. During the last two weeks of March, online poker activity surged by 180%.
Despite horse racing events being called off from mid-March, betting revenue rose in this vertical by 10% to €74 million. Meanwhile, handle went up by the same percentage and reached €300 million. This was the highest amount wagered in any quarter during the last seven years.
Sports betting wagers declined by 4%, with players betting a total of €1.22 billion. This was fuelled by the early ending of the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 football seasons. Despite this, operators enjoyed an 18% year-on-year rise in revenue.
What does Q2 hold for online gambling in France?
Bearing in mind that France imposed some of Europe’s strictest lockdown laws, it’s possible that online poker revenue will show another increase in Q2.
Weekly average player accounts for poker rose to 374,000, representing a 37% increase. Coinciding with the significant player activity rise in the last two weeks of March, almost 30% of the vertical’s Q1 revenue came during this period.
According to ARJEL, the pandemic’s full impact won’t be fully seen until these figures come out.
France has now declared that the virus is ‘under control’ and has eased a lot of its lockdown laws. It has also said that even in the event of a second wave, it will not impose similarly-draconian measures that it did earlier this year.