Date: 28.09.2023

by Mateusz Mazur

French Gaming Sector Witnesses Robust Growth in H1 2023

The French gaming industry, excluding casinos and gaming clubs, demonstrated impressive performance in the first half of 2023. With a 4% increase compared to the same period in 2022, the Gross Gaming Revenue (PBJ) reached a substantial €5.3 billion. This remarkable growth was primarily driven by increased competition in the sector.

Key Contributors

Approximately 78% of this PBJ can be attributed to the activities of La Française des Jeux (FDJ) and activities under the exclusive rights of the Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU), totaling €4.2 billion. The remaining 22% is derived from competitive activities, amounting to €1.2 billion.

The growth experienced across all segments can be partially attributed to the heightened interest in sports betting generated by the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which took place in December 2022. This event not only attracted new sports bettors but also indirectly impacted the poker market through cross-selling operations. From H1 2022 to H1 2023, the number of active player accounts (CJA) increased by 3%, totaling 3,860,000.

However, there was a decline in the number of monthly active players in online segments throughout the semester, suggesting a slowdown in the momentum observed since the beginning of the year. The impact of this trend will be closely monitored in the coming months, considering events like the Rugby World Cup and the resumption of the Champions League.

FDJ’s Impressive Performance

The FDJ, in particular, continued its upward trajectory in the first half of 2023, with stakes totaling nearly €10.5 billion, compared to €10.0 billion in H1 2022, marking a 4% increase. The PBJ from FDJ activities reached €3.3 billion in H1 2023, reflecting a 2% increase compared to the same period in the previous year, amounting to €77 million.

These positive results can be attributed primarily to the activities of sports betting in physical locations and competitive activities, which saw stakes rise by 13% to approximately €2.3 billion. Lottery stakes also increased by 2% to reach €8.2 billion.

Dynamics of Lottery and Betting

While lottery activities have historically driven FDJ’s growth, their proportion has now fallen behind that of sports betting activities, both in physical locations and online. Draw games saw a 1% decrease in stakes in comparison to the previous semester, primarily due to the absence of significant jackpots in games like Loto and Euromillions. Scratch games, on the other hand, experienced a 4% increase in stakes, driven by a dynamic range of games that compensated for the decline in the draw game segment.

Future Outlook

The segment of sports betting in physical locations and competitive gaming benefited from the momentum generated by the 2022 FIFA World Cup, leading to increased activity in sports betting and the recruitment of new bettors. The introduction of the operator’s poker activities in the second half of 2022 also contributed to the growth trend observed.

FDJ’s diversification efforts have paid off, with a 12.1% increase in revenue in H1 2023, primarily driven by international activities, which now account for 6% of the company’s total revenue. The recent acquisition of rights to the Irish lottery until 2034 through Premier Lotteries Ireland is expected to further enhance international diversification.

These impressive results should be viewed in conjunction with marketing expenditures for H1 2023, totaling €223 million, a 1% increase compared to H1 2022. This included a 5% reduction in marketing spending on lotteries (€82 million) and a 7% increase in sports betting and competitive activities (€74 million).

The French gaming sector continues to evolve, and its performance will be closely monitored in the coming months as it adapts to changing market dynamics and international expansion opportunities.