l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), France’s unified gambling regulator, has stated that it is satisfied by the outcomes of its ‘World Cup assessment’, in which licensed operators observed its order ‘to reduce advertising pressure’.
As anticipated by ANJ, World Cup 2022 broke all previous French wagering records, as the event generated a total volume of €597m in stakes and €70m in GGR. The tournament’s wagering volume (stakes) was 56% higher than World Cup 2018 and 37% up on Euro 2020, which held the previous record.
Captivating the public as France reached the World Cup finals, ANJ recorded that during the tournament, 177,000 new betting accounts were open – a figure below 230,000 recorded in World Cup 2018.
The France vs Argentina final saw €51m staked, a wagering result that “dethroned the previous record of World Cup 2018 France vs Croatia final (€38m).”
ANJ noted that its World Cup wagering results are conservative, as they do not factor in FDJ online/retail sales that will be published this month, which are estimated to exceed €900m.
Media were notified that ANJ could not draw definitive conclusions on the impacts of the World Cup 2022 on the French gambling market, as comparatives would be matched against 2020 and 2021 pandemic years.
As such, World Cup 2022 wagering represented “7.2% of total stakes placed in 2022, compared with 10% in 2018”, with ANJ noting that “54 million bets were placed, more than double the number in 2018”.
The tournament highlighted changes in the profile of French sportsbook consumers as “twice as many women aged 18-24 were recruited” in comparison to other major sporting events.
18-to-24-year-olds were marked as the tournament’s most active consumer segment (54%), in which the ANJ had pre-launched its “T’as vu, T’as perdu” (You saw/You lost national advertising campaign to warn French youth of gambling risks.
The assessment did not present any information on gambling addiction or prevention, as a separate review will be carried out by OFDT, France’s Central Addiction Observatory.
Prior to the tournament commencing, all licensed operators were ordered to submit their ‘marketing action plans’ to help the ANJ monitor and control ‘excessive advertising’ – an order that followed public and political concerns which brought sports betting advertising into disrepute during Euro 2020.
Further directives saw all licensed operators adhere to the ANJ’s new ‘four commitment charter’ to moderate advertising and promote responsible messaging, in which the World Cup would be “the first major event to test the effectiveness of the commitments made”.
Charter commitments saw French bookmakers’ advertising content “observe a change in tone promoting responsible gambling”. Furthermore, operators ‘generally applied’ ANJ recommendations to limit welcome bonuses to a €100 offer for customers to improve transparency on incentives.
Research partner Toluna (Harris Interactive) observed that the French public had found World Cup 2022 advertising “slightly less disturbing and aggressive” than during Euro 2021.
Despite marked improvements in traditional media coverage, ANJ highlighted concerns on betting advertising being promoted via social media platforms of Instagram, YouTube and Twitter – deemed to be “invasive and popular with French youth”.
“During the World Cup, around 100 influencers were mobilised to promote sports betting, mainly on Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. 80% of the influencers’ audience is under 34 years old and 50% under 25 years old,” said the regulator.
The rules on social media and influencer channels are to be further reviewed by the ANJ and its advertising council.
Matters on advertising/marketing are yet to be concluded, as the ANJ’s working group will deliver its recommendations on betting sponsorships in March, focused on “jersey partnerships, competition naming, but also programme sponsorship on radio, television or streaming sites”.
Signing off the report, ANJ President Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin stated: “The regulatory mechanism set up by the ANJ in the run-up to the World Cup made it possible, with the tools at its disposal, to contain advertising pressure, and the operators generally played along.
“Nevertheless, this pressure remains strong and concerns the regulator in a context where the latest OFDT studies show an increase in excessive gambling.
“The ANJ is therefore considering additional measures that it will propose to the public authorities in the coming months to strengthen the supervision of gambling advertising.”