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France Galop, the governing body of flat and steeplechase racing in France, has said that while proceeds from betting on racing will be down year-on-year, it has been encouraged by the growth in the sector from June onwards.

It noted that the growth had prompted horse race betting operator Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) to raise its full-year profit forecasts.

France Galop said that as of August 16, stakes were down almost €1bn from 2019, a decline of around 22%, with gross gaming revenue €335m behind the prior year. This was down to the suspension of French racing, which shut down from 17 March and did not resume until 11 May as a result of the novel coronavirus.

However, from June 1, the sector had enjoyed something of a turnaround. For every week since, staking surpassed 2019 levels and beat forecasts set by PMU in April.

As a result, the operator has raised its projected net profit for 2020 to €640m. While this is €120m behind its pre-pandemic forecasts for the year, it represents an €182m improvement from its updated projections from April.

“Revenue forecasts remain very fragile as long as the virus is actively circulating, which has prompted directors to be cautious. Indeed, the slightest disruption of activity can very quickly result in a loss of several millions,” France Galop said.

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