French authorities need to do more to regulate online casino games and counter the wider threat of illegal gaming, according to a prominent c-level executive in the country.
Nicolas Béraud, Founder and CEO of Betclic, shared his views on French regulation with radio station franceinfo, arguing that the government must bring icasino regulations in line with those imposed on wagering.
According to French regulator l’Autorite Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) last April, the combined sector of sports betting, horse racing and online poker was a ‘hyper-growth segment’ in 2021, having recorded GGR of €2.2bn in 2021.
Speaking nine months after the ANJ’s report and 13 after the end of the 2021 trading year, however, Béraud argued that online casino games make up a huge portion of the French market – and are unregulated.
He explained: “It is important that the public authorities control other gambling in the same way as online sports betting. Sports betting accounts for one-sixth of gambling in France.
“Of the remaining five-sixths, there are not the same controls as we have on online sports betting. There is a part which is particularly problematic, in my opinion, it is illegal gambling.”
Along with other European countries, such as the UK, Netherlands and Germany, France has been examining its legislative framework on gambling over the past year.
Notably, last summer the regulator put together a ‘working group’ to assess the media contracts and marketing campaigns of French-licensed bookmakers in a review of advertising standards.
This was followed by a tightening of rules around promotion of gambling offers and incentives in the autumn, adding that monitoring of operators’ player rewards and bonuses would be increased.
In Béraud’s view, the French regulator must now turn its attention to online casino games and the unregulated black market, which he believes is not providing players with adequate protection and is denying tax revenue to public funds.
“France is one of the few countries not to have regulated online casino games and several studies have shown that there are more than a million players who play regularly on these sites without any control, without tax for the state.”
As Founder and CEO of Betclic, Béraud has guided the firm through both changes in French regulation as well as major changes to the firm’s operating model, including a sale of a 47% shareholding in the firm to FL Entertainment for €850m.
The result of this acquisition was that Betclic would merge with FL’s Banijay, an entertainment enterprise, to form a pan-European entertainment conglomerate.
Having completed a listing on the Amsterdam Euronext exchange, FL Entertainment revealed yesterday that it had experienced strong trading across both betting and media operations.
Betclic “registered high double-digit growth in stakes versus Euro2020”, led by a considerable increase in active player numbers compared to 2021, and its growth is expected to continue into 2023.
Commenting on the firm’s performance to date to franceinfo, Béraud detailed that the brand had placed ‘more than €23m in bets’, and now accounts for ‘a third of the French market in terms of sports betting’.