Operator Talk: PMU focuses on German racing growth

Operator Talk: PMU focuses on German racing growth

Tuesday, September 8, 2015 Totally Gaming
Aymeric Verlet said PMU wants to build the German industry

Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) has told TotallyGaming.com that it wants to support and grow German horseracing after buying a majority stake in German Tote.

Horse racing in Germany is not as popular as in other major European markets such as the UK and France, and the industry received a damaging blow earlier this year when the local council controversially handed over the Frankfurt-Niederrad racecourse to the German Football Association to be used for its new national academy.

However, the industry could receive a boost after PMU made the German Tote its second international B2C acquisition after purchasing Belgium's Eurotierce in 2013, and the French company’s international director Aymeric Verlet added that expanding the country’s overall market is a key consideration.

Verlet told TotallyGaming.com: “As in France, our aim is to develop the horseracing industry as racing is less popular in Germany than it is in France and the UK. Horseracing will be stronger in Europe if it is strong in the big markets such as the UK, France and Germany.

“Our aim is to have a German partner to develop the business and increase betting on horseracing, not just contribute to the French horseracing industry. It’s a crucial step in our B2C development.”

The most recent data available from the International Federation of Horseracing Associations (IFHA) shows that German horseracing offered just €19.43m in prize money in 2013 – just a fraction of the €188.01m on offer in the UK and €434.92m in France. IFHA figures also show that German punters gambled just €85.62m on racing compared to €9.7bn in France and €12.47bn in the UK.

Verlet said that PMU – which has had a B2B partnership with German Tote since 2003 – has some very specific plans for improvements in Germany but, two years into the ownership of Eurotierce, he explained that the company will not simply attempt to offer French solutions to another country’s issues.

He said: “We want to improve the online offering and also to look at broadcasting and promotion of major races in Germany. We want to market it better so that it can compete with other entertainment. 

“One of the first issues when you enter a new market is that you have to adapt to the punters and their specific needs. We will adapt in Germany as we have in Belgium.

“I think we can bring our know-how to help racing develop in Germany. We will also look to offer more German racing to French customers, which is what we have done since our investment in Belgium.”

PMU has not ruled out further expansion into more countries, and also admitted that its move into Germany could offer a foothold ahead of changes in gambling legislation.

Verlet said: “Firstly, I hope that we will be successful in Germany within parimutuel racing, but we will, of course, keep an eye on regulatory developments. 

“We have some other international projects that we are considering, but we will never make the move we have made in Belgium and Germany unless it is with the agreement of the local horseracing association.”

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