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PMU to separate its activities

PMUFrance’s Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) will separate its online liquidity from its land-based activities in the next two years.

PMU, which today reported a 4,8% rise in gross gaming revenues to €144m across its online poker, pari mutuel and sportsbetting verticals for the first six months of the year, currently pools the liquidity it enjoys through its 11,000-strong retail points of sale (€8,5bn in stakes in 2012) with the €1bn it generates in online stakes, a policy which competitors say enables it to offer much bigger prize money to punters while distorting the competitive field in France.

While the effective separation of PMU’s offline and online activities is expected to take close to two years, private operators will be able to plug into its liquidity for its major offers such as Quinté +, which generates around 20% of its online turnover.

The measure reported yesterday by Les Echos comes as a result of Betclic Everest Group referring PMU to France’s Competition Authority in early 2012.

The Authority has obtained certain 'commitments' from PMU, such as the private operators plugging into its liquidity for major offers, in order to avoid the case going to court.

It had already expressed doubts about 'certain risks' it believed online horseracing pari mutuel presented in terms of the competitive field faced by private operators and had called for the 'legal and functional separation' of PMU’s online and offline entities.

The measure will apply to all licensed operators in France, Betclic confirmed the information but will not comment on the issue until the rapporteur for the Competition Authority has published his report this month. The stakeholders will then have two months in which to make comments and suggestions.

Betclic, the French market leader in online sportsbetting just in front of PMU, called on the government body to assess the historic operator’s comingling of liquidities and has repeatedly denounced what it considers to be the unfair competitive advantage enjoyed by PMU with regard to its online and offline stakes.

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