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France’s dreadful results

Hot on the heels of the news from Turkey, along has come ARJEL, the French regulator, to publish results for its fourth quarter which show sports betting wagers (which were already in freefall) “down” (for which read, “transferred to black market”) 23% year-on-year.  Advertising spend from operators has halved to €46m (€93m in Q4 2010), attributed by ARJEL to companies using more online marketing, but probably a fair reflection of the extent to which it is uneconomic to run a legal business in the country.

ARJEL’s president, Jean-Francois Vilotte, has called for urgent regulatory reform, saying that a 10% decline in Q4 gross win from €31m to €28m is a “cause for concern” because “it could lead to players betting to unregulated sites”. An understatement, or lost in translation? You’d swear the phrases he must have used were “il est tres evident que” and “deja“.

There are some people out there who like to praise the French legislation for having got it right (with its sports betting right, high taxes,  and maximum return to player) when it was introduced in June 2010. The obvious concern that the new law would result in a growing black market – and that once you lose a customer to that, it is very hard to get him back – was dismissed as false.

Perhaps in the face of these numbers, some of France’s more ardent supporters in the UK might revise their view and start adopting a sensible position that protects everyone?





Posted in Betting industry, Europe, Regulation.

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