SBC News French Médiateur tells ANJ to toughen duties preventing excessive gambling

French Médiateur tells ANJ to toughen duties preventing excessive gambling

SBC News French Médiateur tells ANJ to toughen duties preventing excessive gambling
Jake Pollard

Médiateur des Jeux, France’s gambling mediator issued its annual report this week in partnership with industry regulator Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) and urged operators to do more to prevent cases of excessive gambling.

As part of four key recommendations, Denys Millet, an honorary magistrate and France’s gambling mediator, said that currently French operators are “almost systematically” delaying or rejecting account suspension measures.

Millet urged them to implement the measures “as soon as the player does not respond to prevention messages, avoids any attempt to contact them or changes his gambling behaviour by increasing his deposits and bets, reflecting a clear loss of control that exposes him to heavy losses”.

This would make it possible to engage in a discussion with the gambler in order to provide better support and identify and support excessive or pathological gamblers.

The report also noted that “the number of referrals concerning addiction issues remains low in relation to the number of problem gamblers”, but that there had been an increase in the number of complaints linked to account closures for players who don’t consider themselves to be problem gamblers.

The last report on excessive gambling in France was published in 2019, an updated report is due for publication at the end of the year.

The other three key recommendations focused on:

  • Refunding players’ accounts in cases of suspected fraud: Suspicions about the authenticity of the documents produced by a player (proof of address, ID card and bank documents) can justify account closure if there is a risk of fraud, but operators should not confiscate players’ deposits unilaterally and must provide “precise factual reasons for their decision”. Closures are allowed if a report of suspicious activity is made to France’s financial tracking unit TRACFIN or if the operator can prove that the bets were placed illegally.
  • Operators’ terms and conditions: The mediator said operators were within their rights to cancel bets if these were placed on the same selection within a short period of time (i.e. six or seven bets in 10-minute bursts), but must be careful not to abuse “potestative” terms, when these are dependent on only one party, the operator, in particular when this applies to winning bets.
  • Informing players of account closures due to inactivity: Operators are obliged to close player accounts if they have been inactive for 12 months, but should inform them of the closure after 11 months so that players can either decide to play or close their account free of charge.

The mediator processed 1,523 player requests for intervention in 2023. The figures represented a YoY increase of 11%, with 91% focused on issues related to disagreement between sports bettors and bookmakers.

The report revealed that 752 requests were declared inadmissible, with absence of a prior written complaint to the operators as the main reason for inadmissibility (89%).

The mediator processed 754 cases and the average processing time was 31 days, “well below the maximum of 90 days” set by France’s Consumer Code, while 30% of the requests received partial or total satisfaction.

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