While the online poker market is considered to be one of the most lucrative markets across the world, there are a number of Europeans nations who will disagree based on their current results. Countries like France and Spain have seen a sharp decline over the past 3 years and going by the recent stats, the online poker market will continue to decline rapidly in Europe.
ARJEL, the online gaming regulator in France recently published a new report which revealed that France’s online poker market has taken a serious hit and is steadily declining. This negative trend initially started in 2011 and has not changed since then. According to the report, the number of active accounts during the first quarter of 2014 is 12% less when compared to the first quarter of 2013. This is a significant decline and is expected to cost gaming operators a minimum of 10% of their annual turnover.
The ARJEL’s report also revealed that bets at cash game tables reduced by as much as 19% during the first quarter of 2014, which is a drop of 28% when compared to the first quarter of 2012. On the other hand, there has been a better response at tournament poker as it has witnessed a growth rate of 9%. In terms of revenue, bets recorded at cash games have declined from €1.476 million during the first quarter of 2013 to around €1.2 million during the first quarter of 2014. The revenue for tournament poker showed an increase from €375 million in the first quarter of 2013 to €407 million in the first quarter of 2014.
ARJEL also confirmed that this significant dip in numbers is not good for France’s online gaming industry as the decline will mean an overall reduction in revenues. France’s online gaming turnover during the first quarter of 2013 was around €72 million and is expected to fall to just under €65 million during the first quarter of 2014.
France like Spain is in a predicament as it initially considered opting for a European shared liquidity project which will create a player pool from Italy, Spain, U.K and France thereby providing a more attractive poker experience for players. However, this proposal was rejected and Razzy Hammadi, France’s Rapporteur of the Committee on Economic Affairs suggested that a European shared liquidity project will not increase online poker revenue. He asked the French Parliament to accept the fact that this was the grim reality of the market as online poker in France is now out of style and will continue to fade.