In a recent press interview, Eric Sjöden, senior advisor for international affairs at l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), France’s gambling regulator, underlined that the authorities must develop a closer relationship with operators in the market for the benefit of the players.
The Excessive Advertising Issue
The gambling market in France was in turmoil following one of the biggest competitions in European football, the 2020 UEFA European Championship which was eventually held in 2021 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. That competition saw most operators in France engage in a frenzy of advertising, which prompted ANJ to crack down on gambling marketing.
In 2022 ANJ made significant moves towards reducing the number of gambling ads, justifying those measures by saying that they should protect young people and vulnerable groups.
However, the measures were not imposed by the authorities on the market. ANJ launched a public debate, asking both the public and the operators to have their say before eventually deciding the next steps.
Eric Sjöden explains that this is the way ANJ wants to deal with the French gambling market, engaging in constant dialogue both with the operators and the general public. “We speak with them about problem gambling, regarding AML, so it’s normal for us to speak with them in regards to advertising and advising,” Eric Sjöden added.
The dialogue is kept alive as each year ANJ requires all licensed operators to submit action plans regarding fraud, money laundering, safe gambling, and terrorism financing. This allows for ongoing dialogue between the regulator and operators because after the latter submits the action plans the ANJ replies with recommendations.
However, some of these action plans receive plain rejections from ANJ if they are not good enough. Earlier this year the French regulator dismissed six such plans, belonging to casinos and gaming clubs.
“This is our idea of regulation,” Eric Sjöden explained. The ANJ advisor added that the French regulator dishes out fewer sanctions than regulators in other European countries and that is because operators on the French market have a better understanding of the regulation framework.
Sjöden also revealed that ANJ is currently working on two new tools for the French gambling market, a guide on tracking gambling harm and an instrument under the regulator’s control which would allow to set up loss limits.
The French authorities are also preparing to legalize online casinos through Bill 1248, which was introduced in May 2023 by Philippe Latombe, a representative of the Democratic Movement party. The bill’s purpose is to take players to legal online casinos instead of offshore operators that don’t have responsible gambling measures in place.
Source: “France focus: Is the market a success yet?“. iGaming Business. September 5, 2023.