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“The crisis has somehow accelerated” the betting and online poker market, says the National Gaming Authority

The Covid-19 epidemic has boosted the online gaming market. Their turnover jumped 22% in 2020, reveals the National Gaming Authority (ANJ). “The three segments under competition, namely sports betting, poker and online betting, recorded historic performances in 2020 “, confirms on franceinfo, Thursday March 18, Jérémy Terrasson, director of markets, compliance, player protection within the ANJ.

Sports betting gained momentum at the end of the year: turnover of two billion euros in the last quarter of 2020.“The crisis has somewhere accelerated the digitization of gambling practices”.

franceinfo: Containment and restrictions are probably not foreign to this success of online games?

Jérémy Terrasson: Indeed, over the year 2020, we see that the performance of online games contrasted quite sharply with those of hard-core games which were hit by the health crisis.

Casinos have been closed for many months and FDJ and PMU outlets suffered sharply from the supply during the first lockdown and the closure of some outlets.

Jeremy Terrasson

to franceinfo

It is true that the crisis has somehow accelerated the digitization of gaming practices and we actually realize that the three competing segments, namely sports betting, poker and online betting, recorded in the year 2020 historical performance.

Are sports betting popular despite the end of many competitions in 2020?

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The sector’s growth is 22% overall, but the breakdown is quite different. Sports betting has only increased this year, if we can say, “only” by 7% and this is largely linked to this cessation of sports competitions during the first confinement, but we realize that the market situation was reversed in the second half with the resumption of competitions. And in the fourth quarter of 2020, stakes recorded on online sports betting crossed the two billion euro mark, which is a level never reached in a single quarter. This trend continues in the first months of 2021.

So we put more money or are there more players in total?

Both. We can see that there is a massive influx of players: overall, we are more than 17% new players in the year 2020. And precisely in the sports betting activity, we are growing by 30% of what are called active player accounts. So if the expenses do not explode over the year, we must keep in mind that the year 2020 was partially truncated with the end of the competitions.

In particular, there are more young players. Is this a cause for concern?

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It is true that players between 18 and 24 years old represent about a third of sports bettors while they represent only 10% of the adult population in France. They are indeed overrepresented in the activity. Afterwards, we realize that this share has been fairly stable for the last few years, the distribution has not exploded.

The market is changing, and so are advertising. Aren’t the advertisements of online sports betting sites a little too aggressive, with the risk of addiction that we know?

This is a delicate subject because we have to find the right balance between the content of these advertisements and the advertising pressure so as not to lead to situations of prohibition of advertising that our European neighbors may experience. We are not in favor of it and what we want is to supervise it as best as possible. And for that, the ANJ is endowed with new powers with in particular the possibility of requesting the withdrawal of an advertisement if it incites to the game of the minors or to an excessive practice. And, since this year, the ANJ has approved the promotional strategies of all operators. The examination of these different promotional strategies made it possible to effectively highlight the strong advertising pressure and the significant increase in budgets over the coming year which, as you know, will be quite rich on a sporting level with the postponements of Euro football and the Olympics.

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