PMU are the biggest of the French betting sites currently in operation. PMU is short for Pari Mutuel Urbain and the company operates as a state owned firm. Up until 2010, the company had a monopoly on betting on horse racing in the country. As the laws were reformed and other companies were able to enter the market, PMU expanded its operations to encompass sports betting and poker. It’s one of the most popular bookmakers in France due to its long standing reputation and regular bonuses and concessions.
PMU runs horse racing betting which is effectively a totalizator system. Money is pooled together on each race and the weight of money for each horse determines the runners starting odds (once profit and taxes are deducted). With years of experience and service in racing, it is no surprise that racing is PMU’s flagship product.
PMU has demonstrated its robustness in recent years in the face of economic austerity. In 2013 the company posted an overall revenue of €2.48b, up 0.2% on 2012. Whilst the increase in turnover was marginal, it represented the sixteenth straight year of revenue growth for the company – impressive given the market it has been operating in. In 2013, racing revenue fell slightly, but this was compensated for by a large 20.7% increase in sports betting (up to €38.5m), and the poker market also saw a healthy increase in income.
Upon landing on the PMU home screen, customers are greeted with a series of different promotions and forthcoming events. The landing page is perhaps a little cluttered with too much going on and the three different areas of the site – Horse Racing, Paris Sport and Poker, are not immediately obvious.
However, the ‘Paris Sport’ page is clean and well designed. In the top left hand corner of the screen are quick links to Live Betting, Promotions and some of the most popular events. When navigating to the ‘Live Betting’ section, users are greeted with an up to date list of events and live odds from which they can choose their selections. The sports are differentiated with small logos in the left corner and further markets can be viewed by selecting the feature to the right of the odds.
On the left hand side of the main page is an extensive list of different sports and markets. The vast majority of major, and some marginal sports, are covered. Obviously football and tennis are the most popular betting events and are duly listed at the top of the list, but up and coming sports such as handball and European ice hockey are also covered. With participation rates and interests in these disciplines growing, (particularly in Central and Northern Europe) PMU have made a wise decision by offering prices on these markets. In total there are 22 different sports which are listed on the site.
When selecting a particular sport, the forthcoming matches/events are displayed in date order by default down the middle of the page. This is particularly useful for those wanted to find odds for an event which is soon to commence. By selecting the sub-categories underneath each sports, users can quickly find the market they are after.
For a large number of sports, there is the added benefit to customers of being able to access statistics pertaining to the match/contest. The data is provided by BetRadar and includes such details such as head-to-head performances and recent results etc.
In terms of market depth, PMU are able to compete with the top European firms. Using the UEFA Champions League qualification game between HJK Helsinki v Rabotnicki, we can see:
PMU.fr are nestled in behind European bookmaking giants Bet365 and Bwin, offering a similar number of markets. They are well ahead of BetVictor (who normally have more markets) and Ladbrokes.
The firm do not fare so well when taking a look at the total book percentage for the same match. If bookmakers were a not for profit organisation, when converted to percentages, their odds for each team (and the draw) would equate to 100%. Therefore, the larger the total figure, the more profit the bookmakers are taking out of the market and the less fair the odds are.
Total Book %
PMU’s 118.5% book would be classified as noncompetitive in a market where there are only three possible outcomes. It is worth noting that the figures for all of the firms seem higher than normal and this is likely to be due to the incomplete knowledge surrounding these two relatively obscure teams. The odds on top matches such as Monaco v PSG are compiled to more competitive percentages, but the comparison still goes to show that PMU are some way behind their rivals on the value front.
Naturally, as the sole provider of gambling on horses for a number of years, they are at the forefront of the racing markets and their site reflects this. When selecting horses, customers are directed to a page with an interactive grid which lists all of the individual race meetings for that day down the left hand side, and timeline at the top of the screen. This makes it easy for users to see how the races are planned and what contest is starting soonest.
PMU offers some German and English racing in addition to the domestic action. When clicking on each individual race, customers are greeted with a relatively large amount of information about each contest. Jockeys, trainers, weights carried, horse breeding, form and newspaper tipsters selections are just some of the areas covered, and help provide additional data for analysis by the bettor. As the PMU is run as a tote, the odds on each runner are not determined until the races have begun. There are a multitude of betting options, including straight win bets, in addition to combinations, forecast and much more (a comprehensive explanation of each bet type is provided on the website). The presence of race replays and industry news reinforces the fact that horse racing is PMU’s speciality, and they do an excellent job of presenting the sport on their site.
The bonus system on offer at PMU is very fair and encompasses all three strands; racing, sports and poker. In total there are 170 Euros of ‘freebies’ that can be obtained;
Horse racing – PMU will refund 50% of bets struck within two weeks of account opening, up to 50Euro.
Sports – If the first bet struck through the bookmaker (has to be within two weeks of opening account) loses, PMU will issue a refund up to 100Euro.
Poker – A concession of 5Euro is offered to customers upon creating an account and is followed with a further 15Euros once a certain amount of points have been accumulated.
The terms and conditions associated with the bonuses are not too stringent or taxing and it is therefore possible to profit from these bonuses quite easily. In addition to the sign-up bonuses, there are also regular concessions and specials offered on sporting events.
Professional v Recreational Punters
Regarding sports, PMU is a site which suits the recreational punter best. There is a wide variety of choice when it comes to the sports and the depth of betting markets are more than adequate too. However, the uncompetitive prices will deter the more serious bettor who relies on striking bets on matches and games with low profit margins. As horse racing is run through a tote style system in France, PMU is the perfect place for professional French gamblers to strike their bets. The easy to use and intuitive website, combined with extra analysis and detail is appealing to punters.
As would be expected, there are several ways through which customers can fund their PMU accounts.
Those looking to use a bank card are able to deposit via Visa debit or credit card, or Mastercard. Popular e-wallet providers Paypal and Moneyclic are becoming an increasingly used method of funding accounts due to their security and the anonymity of transactions they provide.
Ticket Premium allows customers to purchase a voucher code in a shop before using it online to add to their betting balance. Ticket Premium is a good option for those with bad credit who don’t have a bank account or access to a card which is valid online. NeoSurf follows a similar principle and is a prepaid card with a code on the back which can be converted into real funds when entered online.
Whilst not yet offering 24-hour customer service assistance, PMU have good coverage compared to the majority of their competitors, with their lines being open from 8.30-22.00. Alternatively there are email and postal addresses which can be used. There is also an extensive help section on the websites which can assist with the vast majority of general queries any customer may have.
PMU is a very useful bookmaker to have an account with with good market coverage, a user-friendly website and an in depth horse racing section. With strong financials and an established reputation, PMU are reliable and should lay a decent enough bet.