It was more than honor that France brought home when its football team won the Fifa World Cup in Russia this year. Due to the victory, sports betting in the country grew significantly in the second quarter of 2018, according to the French gambling regulator ARJEL. The regulator released numbers showing that in the first quarter of 2018, around EUR 847 million was wagered at 12 betting sites licensed in France. One quarter later – notably that Team France won the World Cup – a staggering EUR 1.16 billion was wagered at these sites. Naturally, interest around the World Cup seemed to push numbers high. 22% of all sports bets that were placed in the second quarter were made on the first 50 matches of the World Cup leading up to June 30th. Going into the third quarter, French punters bet EUR 382 million on the football tournament at online sites. The heaviest activity was seen around the final match when France met Croatia and eventually took home the trophy in an exciting match that ended at 4-2. This match generated wagers of EUR 67 million, with the French gaming group, Francaise des Jeux recording EUR 32 million in bets placed on that match on its site alone. All in all, Francaise des Jeux reported that EUR 333 million was wagered on the World Cup on its site. The World Cup was also a catalyst for many new people to try out sports betting for the first time, according to ARJEL. A whopping 960,000 new player accounts were opened during the second quarter of 2018, and the number of active player accounts climbed from 302,000 per week in the second quarter of last year to 527,000 per week in the same period of 2018. Not everything was linked to the World Cup in French gambling. Gains were also seen in horse racing betting and there was a 5% increase in the amount seen from online bets year on year (to EUR 250 million). It is believed that the World Cup actually had a negative effect on horse racing as stakes dropped 5% on horse racing betting in France in the first three weeks of the football tournament. Another pleasant surprise – and hopefully the beginning of a more global positive trend – was the improvement in poker numbers in Q2 2018. The number of player accounts went up 8% to 246,000, while cash betting climbed 9% to EUR 925 million. Earlier this month, the French regulator criticized loot boxes but said that these video game features did not counter the country’s gambling laws and therefore they do not constitute gambling. ARJEL said that it was examining ways to see that loot boxes eventually be controlled.