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Betsson Acquires French Sports Betting License and Enters New Jurisdiction

Popular iGaming entity Betsson has received another boost in its European expansion voyage this year after the holding company recently obtained a sports betting license in France. The French Gambling Authority, L’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), granted the permit that will enable the Malta-based Swedish company to offer sports betting with the help of a local partner that Betsson has collaborated with, exclusively for the French gambling market.

A Parisian bridge with lit lamp posts over water.

Betsson enters France with sports betting license.
©Léonard Cotte/Unsplash

The gambling market of France is one of the oldest-running markets in Europe. The nation legalized online gambling and sports betting over a decade ago by introducing the French Gambling Act, also known as Law No 2010-476. The law came into effect in May 2010, kickstarting the online gambling segment with a central regulatory body – l’Autorité Nationale de Régulation des Jeux en Ligne (ARJEL). The law legalized three forms of online gambling activities – virtual poker, sports betting, and horse race betting. Under sports betting, there are only three legalized options in France – Fixed Odds Betting, Pool Betting, and Live Betting. Ten years after the online gaming and betting market went live, the ANJ replaced ARJEL as the nation’s gambling supervisory and regulatory authority, also in charge of granting licenses, enforcing online gambling regulations, and overseeing the responsible gambling policy of casinos. Accounting for 5 percent of the global market size, the French sports betting segment touched a value of $4.7 billion in 2021.

The French online gambling market is projected to grow by almost six percent between 2023 and 2027, resulting in a market volume of €4.56 billion in 2027. Despite the rather strict online gambling policy, the French gambling industry has found a way to grow, and with the online gambling revenue hitting €1.07 billion in the first half of last year and the annual Gross Gambling Revenue (GGR) amounting to €12.9 billion, it has become one of the most lucrative locations for private iGaming and sports betting operators. The demand and supply of online gambling services are rising, and this situation is not limited exclusively to France. Almost all regulated gambling jurisdictions around the world have reported higher revenue and profits after introducing the online gambling segment into their respective markets. In order to promote the segment further, several jurisdictions have introduced a new online-only gambling license for private iGaming operators that enables them to enter regulated markets without having land-based operations in the respective country.

The latest iGaming company to enter France is Betsson. Founded in Sweden and headquartered in Malta, the popular online gambling company recently announced that it had officially entered the French sports betting market after receiving its permit from the ANJ. Betsson’s sports betting voyage in France will not be a solo operation using one of its existing brands, as it will collaborate with a local French brand to offer its services. The Malta-based operator has not revealed the identity of the local entity. After obtaining the license in the third quarter of this year, Betsson is expected to initiate the collaborative launch in the upcoming quarter to finish the year on the front foot. The company’s primary objective for growth and expansion is attaining maximum geographic diversification. The strategy works well as France is the 15th European jurisdiction Betsson has entered, after Malta, Italy, Estonia, Denmark, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Croatia, Greece, Belgium, and Serbia. Betsson is also active in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Colombia, Kenya, and Nigeria.

The CEO and President of Betsson AB, Pontus Lindwall, was elated as his company’s European expansion continued in full flow.

“I’m pleased that Betsson has obtained a license to offer sports betting in France, which is an important gaming market in Europe with great long-term potential for online gaming. By combining our knowledge and experience as a global gaming operator with the local expertise of our partner, we can offer an unbeatable customer experience in sports betting in France”

Betsson Partnered with French Casino Operator for Belgium

Months before entering the French gambling market, Betsson established a strategic partnership deal with the leading French casino operator, Groupe Partouche. The collaboration was confirmed shortly after the Malta-based holding company acquired betFIRST for €120 million. The full takeover of the iGaming operator saw Betsson enter Belgium – its 13th European regulated gambling market.

The purpose of establishing a deal with Groupe Partouche was to create and launch Belgium’s first online casino. The French casino operator has been in the gambling segment for 50 years and understands all casino trends. The operator runs more than 40 land-based casinos and owns other businesses, including hotels, restaurants, gaming clubs, and more. Groupe Partouche is also listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1993.

The strategic partnership will see the seasoned French operator assist Betsson with creating a new online casino comprising a plethora of games, and this entire platform will be based on betFIRST. The process is still in progress, and when it goes live, it will be the first joint online casino offering in Belgium. It is expected to gain a lot of traction, considering the fact that it will be the product of two popular and giant gambling brands.

A Topsy Turvy Ride for Betsson This Year

The current year is going well for Betsson as it has entered four regulated gambling jurisdictions in the past nine months. It started with the entity’s entry into the market of Ontario, Canada. After that, Betsson entered three new European jurisdictions – Belgium, Serbia, and France. Meanwhile, the brand withdrew from Norway with other major brands due to the nation’s gambling monopoly. However, the Nordic nation could switch to a license-based gambling market soon. Betsson encountered a similar situation in Finland and was even slapped with a €2.4 million conditional fine by the National Police Board (NPB) in the second quarter.

However, those have been the only two negative occurrences for the Malta-based company so far this year. Earlier this year, when Betsson published its financial report for the second quarter of 2023, it recorded a notable 27 percent year-on-year (YoY) increase in revenue. Between April and June this year, the Swedish company collected €236.8 million from all of its iGaming and sports betting brands. The Casino segment’s performance was the best, as its revenue rose by 35 percent. The annual Gross Gambling Revenue (GGR) at the end of this year is expected to shatter all the previous records in the company’s history.

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Author: James Richardson