SBC News ANJ sees 'observable results' on reducing excessive gambling in France

ANJ sees ‘observable results’ on reducing excessive gambling in France

SBC News ANJ sees 'observable results' on reducing excessive gambling in France
Jake Pollard

Efforts to reduce problem gambling are making progress but remain a priority, says French gambling regulator ANJ. The monitoring policy instituted by the Autorité Nationale des Jeux with the aim of preventing excessive gambling has paid off and produced “observable results” over the past 12 months, said the French gambling regulator.

ANJ published its fourth report on the actions of online operators, those of the two offline monopolies FDJ (lottery) and PMU (horse racing tote) and the 203 land-based casinos, seven gaming clubs and 235 racecourses operating in France, and said that the objective of reducing the number of problem gamblers, ANJ’s strategic priority for the next two years, “must be pursued by all gambling operators”.

According to a study published by the Observatoire des Jeux in 2019, gross revenues from problem gamblers accounted for 38.3% of the French industry’s total figure, with almost 21% coming from excessive gamblers, the total number of players amounted to 1.4 million at-risk gamblers and almost 400,000 at pathological levels. In Q4 2019, France’s online gambling industry generated €378m in GGR.

In its press release, ANJ noted “significant progress” on the part of the market “from the point of view of excessive gambling prevention”, thanks in particular to an increase in “protection standards when it comes of identification and support”. ANJ also praised the introduction of individualised measures to exclude at-risk gamblers from bonuses and other commercial incentives.

With regard to protecting minors, ANJ said that “despite the legal ban, underage gambling is a reality” and  2021 study noted that a quarter ofn French 14 to 15 year-olds said they had played a real money game during the previous 12 months.

ANJ also asked Française des Jeux and Pari Mutuel Urbain to strengthen their control systems for minors in their retail outlets and to present “a new, robust system for identifying and supporting excessive or pathological gamblers” in their high street sales outlets.

Casinos, gaming clubs and racecourses

Meanwhile, French casino operators’ revenues were up 8% to €2.7bn in 2023, with 74% of the establishments reporting higher GGR levels than in 2019, said ANJ. The city of Paris has seven gaming clubs and their GGR was up 11% to €119m.

However, ANJ noted that while some of those establishments had made steady progress when it came to identifying and supporting problem gamblers, others had made little progress since 2021.

The share of stakes generated by France’s 235 racecourses increased 0.8% in 2023 to almost €7m, but ANJ noted that their efforts to inform and identify problem gamblers and train staff remained “hugely inadequate”.

With regard to fighting money laundering and terrorist financing, ANJ stated that “the residual risk” of that happening through French gambling companies was “moderate overall”.

ANJ carried out individual monitoring of licensed operators in 2023, which “enabled significant progress to be made in terms of understanding organisational risk and internal controls”. Nonetheless, ANJ called on all operators to “step up their professional training initiatives” and on FDJ and PMU to strengthen controls throughout their retail outlets.

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