ANJ: Summary of the Online gambling market for the first quarter of 2021: business continues to grow in all gambling segments

By | June 9, 2021
Reading Time: 4 minutes


After a singular year in 2020, which ended with a 22% increase in the sector’s turnover, the first quarter of 2021 confirms the very dynamic growth of the online gambling market, with a 35% increase in turnover compared to the same period in 2020. Sports and horse racing betting once again recorded record stakes, while poker, still on the rise, began to return to normal.

In the first quarter of 2021, the turnover of the online gambling sector is up 35% and amounts to 587 million euros. The business was driven by 3.1 million players on accounts, a player base that is up 19% compared to 2020. Each segment of online gambling opened to competition have seen further strong growth in activity this quarter. These performances illustrate the acceleration of the digitalisation of gambling practices, which is a consequence of the health crisis and whose structuring character will have to be confirmed over the long term. As such, the levels of growth recorded in the first quarter of 2021, which are measured in relation to the first quarter of 2020, should be viewed with a certain amount of caution since, on the one hand, they are influenced upwards, for the two online betting segments, by the loss of business linked to the suspension of French sports betting and horse racing betting and, on the other hand, they are oriented downwards for the online poker market, due to the peak of business recorded at the same period last year.


Online sports betting: record stakes and new players

The online sports betting segment, which was the most affected by the first period of lockdown, is the one that has seen the most spectacular growth in stakes this quarter. 2.2 billion euros (+79%[1] compared to Q1 2020) were approximatively bet by the players on the competitions of the quarter, which corresponds to the highest amount of stakes recorded in a quarter. The number of sports bettors in the quarter increased by 29% to almost 2.5 million active player accounts (APA). It is very likely that the growth in activity will continue at a high rate this year due to the two major competitions, the European football championship and the Summer Olympic Games.

The FDJ reports a volume of sports betting stakes recorded on the two distribution channels equal to 1.1 billion euros in the first quarter of 2021, which corresponds to an increase of 46% compared to its results for the first quarter of 2020.


Online horse racing betting: growth continues and expands

The growth dynamic of the online horse racing betting market observed in 2020 is also continuing at a very steady pace. The horse racing stakes, which amount to 481 million euros, increased by 60% compared to the first quarter of 2020, again the highest volume of stakes recorded in a quarter. At the same time, the turnover of the six licensed horse racing betting operators reached 110 million euros, an increase of 48% compared to the first quarter of 2020. Online horse racing betting also recorded a 13% increase in players, with a total of 402,000 active player accounts (APA) over the quarter.

The horse racing betting offer at points of sale remains affected by the health restrictions which, as revealed by PMU, led to the closure of almost 40% of the points of sale for several consecutive months. As a result, the operator posted a 23% drop in stakes placed in its network of sales outlets for a total of 1.3 billion euros.


Online poker: lower growth marks the beginning of a return to normality

Online poker, which recorded the highest turnover increase in 2020, continues to grow at a sustained rate but at a lower rate than in previous quarters. Thus, the sector’s turnover grew by 23% to 120 million euros. The number of online poker players grew by 9% (991,000 active player accounts, (APA)). The results of online poker for the next quarter should however interrupt this dynamic, since they will be calculated with regard to the 2nd quarter of 2020, which had shown an exceptional level of activity due to the first lockdown.

Q1 2020
Q1 2021
Actives player accounts
2 598 000
3 078 000
+ 19%
Gross Gambling Revenue
435 m€
587 m€
+ 35%
Sports betting
Actives player accounts
1 915 000
2 466 000
+ 29%
1 220 m€
2 181 m€
+ 79%
Gross Gambling Revenue
263 m€
357 m€
+ 36%
Horse racing betting
Actives player accounts
357 000
402 000
+ 13%
300 m€
481 m€
+ 60%
Gross Gambling Revenue
74 m€
110 m€
+ 48%
Actives player accounts
906 000
991 000
+ 9%
Gross Gambling Revenue
98 m€
120 m€
+ 23%


For Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, ANJ’s Chairwoman“The online gambling dynamics goes on and is accelerating this quarter. It calls for a certain vigilance and must be accompanied in order to guarantee the protection of players, especially in the run-up to major sport events such as the EURO football tournament or the Tokyo Olympic Games. As such, the ANJ reminded operators of the need for their commercial communications to emphasise the importance of maintaining a moderate and controlled gambling practice and for bonuses or welcome offers to be sufficiently clear, enabling players to understand the commitments they underlie. Additionally, the ANJ will pay particular attention to tipsters’ Websites which have recently strongly developed. Some of these Websites are in fact involved in misleading practices and present a real danger for players.”


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