BETTING giant the Française des Jeux (FDJ) has announced a record turnover last year, topping €10 billion for the first time.
The firm, which runs the French national lottery and is majority-owned by the state, brought in €10.5 billion. The figure confirms its place as the world’s second richest lottery.
Sporting bets, on which the FDJ had a monopoly until last year (not including horse racing), when online gambling was opened up to competition, were more profitable than ever, bringing in €1.142 billion, up 46 per cent.
Managing director Christophe Blanchard-Dignac said the huge network of 35,800 over-the-counter sales points (notably in bar-tabacs) was mainly responsible, though an increase in online betting helped as well. “Many of our sellers, already in difficulties because of the smoking ban and increases in the price of cigarettes, were afraid of the arrival of online betting, but the network of shops has showed its dynamism,” he said.
Scratchcard sales were up 10.6 per cent and the Europe Millions game was up 3.2 per cent.
The success of the firm is also good news for its winners, who pocketed nearly seven billion euros in winnings, 7.6 per cent up on 2009.
However surveys have raised concerns that French people are spending more and more gambling, and a major study on gambling addiction is due this year. A new gambling consultative committee, meant to oversee the French gambling market, planned in connection with the greater opening up last year, has yet to be set up.