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    Online Poker in France Enjoys Upswing Ahead of Liquidity Sharing  

    November 16th, 2017 | by Kaycee James

    Online poker in France enjoyed an upswing in the third-quarter of 2017 with cash game revenue seeing its biggest gains since 2011 ahead of the country’s liquidity sharing deal.

    French online poker.

    French online poker revenue improves ahead of the long-awaited European liquidity sharing deal. (Image: Reuters/foreignaffairs.com)

    According to latest report from French regulator ARJEL, online poker revenue improved by 11 percent between July and September thanks, largely, to increased cash game activity.

    Despite a slow start to the year that saw Q1 and Q2 cash game revenue fall, the market rebounded with an 8 percent rise in Q3.

    Number Up Across the Board

    In addition to a positive three months for online cash game poker in France, tournament takings jumped by 10 percent, while the number of active accounts grew 8 percent year-on-year to 228,00. Beyond poker, revenue across France’s online sports betting sites increased by 23 percent as casino revenue saw a 10 percent uptick.

    Although increased bonus activity has been a primary factor for sporadic periods of growth in France, bonus spend was actually down by 0.1 percent in Q3. This would suggest that pre-merger excitement may be helping to buoy the latest figures.

    When regulators in France, Italy, Portugal and Spain signed an agreement to share players on July 6, 2017, it ushered in a new era for four of Europe’s most prominent poker markets.

    Since implementing their own regulations, each country has seen consistent drops in the amount of revenue collected.

    Hopes High Ahead of Liquidity Sharing

    France has been one of the worst effected online poker economies since it closed its virtual borders and brought in its own licensing system back in 2010. Over the last seven years, revenue from cash games and tournaments has steadily declined, while sports betting and casino revenue has grown.

    In addition to falling player numbers, high taxation has forced many of the leading operators to exit the market. But with a new regime likely to come into force in the early part of 2018, the market may undergo a renaissance in the coming years.

    In fact, according to the notes attached to ARJEL’s November 10 financial report, the liquidity sharing deal could have a positive impact on poker activity across the country’s licensed operators. Indeed, with more than 180 million people living in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, there is clearly a lot of potential for the quartet’s forthcoming collaboration.

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