400 percent increase in online sign-ups since May

According to a trading update issued Monday, the French online and land gambling group Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) is enjoying significant and early rewards from the liberalisation of the French gambling market, reporting a 400 percent growth in sign-ups at its pmu.fr website since May alone.

The company's advantageous licensing position as the football World Cup action commenced, and its sports betting partnership with Paddy Power and Orbis contributed to what it described as a 'very encouraging' start to online gambling sector operations, which were augmented July 1 by the launch of dedicated French online poker action in partnership with Party Gaming (see previous InfoPowa reports).

Player registrations on the pmu.fr website soared starting early June, with some 9 million unique visits to the site during that month, the update revealed, whilst new customer sign-ups grew four-fold compared to previous months on the website, when horse racing action was offered pre-market liberalisation.

During H1 2010, overall internet wagers on racing increased some 19 percent, but a growth of over 200 percent in bets made via mobile phone technology was recorded. PMU launched an iPhone app during the period.

Total gross gaming revenues over the six months of H1 2010 rose 1.1 percent over last year to Euro 1.2 billion, with turnover growing to Euro 4.7 billion.

“Against the backdrop of a period marked by the opening of the online gaming market, horserace betting at retail points of sale was stable and also continued to grow strongly over the internet, in line with expectations,” the update reported.

PMU is widely regarded as one of the main movers in the newly liberalised French internet gambling market, which is nevertheless proving to be a competitive arena with major companies like Francaise des Jeux, Bwin, Mangas Gaming, Pokerstars, Partouche and Chili Poker all getting involved.

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