The online gaming business is increasing worldwide with many operators joining in so that they can take advantage of the immense cash inflow. However, the situation in the French online gaming industry is slightly different, with operators exhibiting a lukewarm interest in the business. Interestingly, this lack of interest isn’t because of a shortage of participation from punters. The French are very enthusiastic gamblers and they have taken to online gambling in a very big way. Therefore, the online iGaming business in France is at odds with the volumes of online betting.
Healthy Online Betting Revenues
France’s national gambling regulator Autorité de Régulation des Jeux En Ligne (ARJEL) offered interesting facts that point to the growth of revenues from online gambling. Regulated gambling operators were able to show healthy revenues in the year 2015 even though there wasn’t any event that year that might have attracted the attention of punters. As a matter of fact, the overall volumes of online betting actually increased 30% over 2014 to touch €1.44bn. €452m worth of stakes were placed in the fourth quarter alone, the largest volumes ever since the 2010 regulation of the French online gambling market.
This impressive rise has taken place because of an increase in the number of punters, now in excess of 200,000 every week. Online casinos catering to the French market such as Casino Blu, mybet Casino, and Casino Extra are attracting much of this business thanks to an increased payout ratio which now stands higher than 80%. These operators have also seen a healthy increase in gross profits, touching €270m in 2015 from €227m the previous year.
Where Does The Problem Lie?
The weakness of the French online gaming business is definitely an interesting issue to ponder upon, given that this shouldn’t be the case at all. After all, the surges in overall gambling activity and revenues suggest that. The disturbing fact is that gambling operators haven’t been able to manage more that 6% increase in their profits, and this is mostly on account of the unrealistically steep taxes in the country. It is just too much to expect companies to make money when they are taxed 46% in total.
The operators licensed to offer online gambling in France did not have a good year in 2014, and they notched up €11m in losses. In fact, they are likely to do the same in 2015 as well.
Sustainable Tax Structure Required
It is a widely acknowledged fact that the gambling industry does better when it comes under government regulation. This way all parties will be protected and the government will be able to reap in a lot of money in the form of taxation and licensing fees. However, the path taken by the French government will benefit no one in the long run since it will only hamstring the gambling industry. It is time that the government overhauled its taxation structure after considering the ground realities. This is the only way to ensure that operators stay in the business.