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Deyan Dimitrov January 26, 2024 3 min read
French Regulator Unveils New Gambling Harm Prevention Strategy
The authority aims to address the challenges posed by the booming gambling market in France, emphasizing the need for a less intensive model
France’s gambling regulator, Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), has released its strategic plan for 2024-2026, focusing on a significant reduction in excessive gambling and the associated social damage. Three years after its establishment, ANJ has fully stepped into its role, closely monitoring the market to ensure licensed operators remain compliant.
The French Market Faces Rising Challenges
The first regulation phase under ANJ’s authority concluded in 2023, revealing a thriving gambling market with over €13 billion ($14.1 billion) in turnover, reflecting a growth of over 50% since the market opened in 2011. While gambling has become a widespread consumer product for people of all ages and backgrounds, it also poses risks necessitating the implementation of restrictive regulatory policies.
Despite notable progress by gaming operators in player protection, the prevalence of problem gambling remains significant. The ANJ acknowledges that in 2019, around 1.4 million players were at risk, with nearly 400,000 classified as pathological gamblers. Problem gambling constitutes more than 38% of the sector’s turnover, with 21% attributed to excessive gamblers alone.
The country struggles with black market operators leveraging the lack of regulated iGaming to exploit unwary players. The ANJ estimated that the illegal online gambling sector in France was between 5% and 11%, vowing to take action against this rising threat. The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has on France to regulate iGaming, noting this was the only way to solve this problem.
ANJ Has Ambitious Goals for the Coming Years
The new strategic plan from ANJ revolves around three key pillars:
- Drastically Reducing Excessive Gambling: ANJ aims to significantly reduce the share and number of excessive gamblers within the gambling market. This objective requires coordinated efforts from operators and a balanced regulatory policy to strengthen the French model of the gambling market.
- Fighting Against Illegal Gambling: The second pillar focuses on preserving the transparency and integrity of the sector, primarily through the fight against illegal gambling.
- Strengthening Economic Dimension of Regulation: The third pillar emphasizes strengthening the economic dimension of regulation to understand market dynamics and provide solutions to current challenges.
The strategic plan’s success relies on sufficient scientific knowledge of the market and gaming practices to guide regulations. Dialogue and cooperation with other stakeholders and regulatory bodies are also necessary, enabling effective, exemplary public action. ANJ president Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin noted that the collaboration remained vital for achieving the regulator’s 2026 goals.
“Reducing the number of excessive gamblers and strengthening the protection of minors… can only be achieved if all stakeholders join forces alongside the regulator.”Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, ANJ president
The ANJ’s strategic plan represents a critical juncture for the French gambling market, aiming to strike a balance between openness and protection while addressing the social challenges associated with excessive gambling. The country remains beset by many gambling-related challenges, but the regulator’s confident approach raises high hopes for the coming years.