PMU’s move away from offline pari mutuel and focus on online betting, poker and international business enabled it to make up for a 3% drop in the French group’s historic vertical as tough economic conditions continue to impact its traditional customer base across France in 2013.
The group, which describes itself as France’s number one site overall for betting and gaming, recorded a 22,4% rise in online betting stakes to €199m thanks to the strong interest in the country’s Ligue 1 football championship and a 10% rise in online poker stakes to €570m during 2013.
Gross gaming revenues for online betting were up 20,7% to €38.5m and rose 19,5% for online poker to €21.6m, enabling “PMU to strengthen its position as number 3” in the French online poker market behind PokerStars and Winamax. Stakes for online pari mutuel were down 3% to €943.2m.
International bets placed on PMU races through its syndication deals outside France rose 93,6% to €638.3m and helped offset the 5,3% drop to €7.9bn in stakes across its retail outlets. Overall, horse racing stakes dropped 1,8% to €9.6bn with gross gaming revenues rising 0.2% to €2,48bn in 2013.
Philippe Germond, president of PMU, said that despite the tough economic climate “PMU had managed to increase its gross gaming revenues” and wasn’t being defeatist about the drop in horse racing activity. “PMU’s response has been to invest heavily in digital innovation and the retail network through its PMU 2020 project. The strategic choice to increase the international development of horse racing pari mutuel and growing online betting and poker in France have contributed to the overall good performance” of the group.
The French horse racing industry depends on PMU’s contributions for its 70,000 associated jobs and sub-sectors. In 2012, the group handed it €865m to go towards those posts and the maintenance of racecourses, prize money and organisation of events.