On Monday 22 June, the members of the ANJ met for the first time around the President, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin. This first meeting of the ANJ Boardmarks the launch of the new regulator, which is now competent in all segments of the gambling market.
An extended regulatory scope
In 2019, France has amended its legal framework of gambling and its regulation. A new gambling regulatory authority (ANJ) has been set. It follows ARJEL with a significantly extended regulatory scope and enhanced powers.
The ANJ is now responsible for all components of the legal gambling market, both online and offline:
- online games that ARJEL regulated, such as sports betting and horse racing betting and poker offered by the 14 licensed operators ;
- all the games of La Française des Jeux or the PMU sold in physical points of sale or online;
- 228 racecourses;
- 202 casinos, with the exception of anti-money laundering issues and the integrity of the games offered, which remain under the responsibility of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
While ARJEL regulated 11% of the French gambling legal market, the ANJ now regulates 78%, which represents a market of more than 50 billion euros in bets
The foundations for a consolidated regulation are therefore laid to have an overall gambling policy in France under the control of the ANJ. It will be able to implement a complete “toolbox” including preventive, prescriptive and control activities, as well as sanction measures throughout the entire gambling industry.
The ANJ missions are structured around four objectives:
- Prevent excessive or pathological gambling and protect minors;
- Ensure the integrity, reliability and transparency of gaming;
- Prevent fraudulent and criminal activities, as well as money laundering and financing of terrorism;
- Ensure the balanced, fair development of various types of games, in order to avoid any economic destabilisation of the sectors concerned.
The ANJ has enhanced powers to fulfil its missions, such as the ability to require the withdrawal of a commercial communication involving an inducement to excessive gambling or the ability to carry out on-site controls.Regarding operators under exclusive rights, it authorizes their games offer and it annually approves their games program, their promotional strategy as well as their action plans in the fight against fraud and money laundering on the one hand, prevention of gambling addiction and the protection of minors on the other hand. The ANJ will exercise greater control over these operators in these different fields.
The methods of regulation
The ANJ will set up a regulation that combines support and control.
- In the short term, the ANJ will use pedagogy to explain to economic actors the new rather complex legal framework. It has already planned to bring them together shortly to present their new obligations.
- It is currently finalising two reference frameworks, one on the prevention of gambling addiction and the protection of minors and the other on the fight against fraud, money laundering and the financing of terrorism. These new compliance tools will be submitted for consultation with the stakeholders concerned in order to develop standards that are as close as possible to the sectoral realities and to secure their practices.
- It will also ensure compliance with the obligations of the law, which implies a credible and appropriate control strategy, and even sanctions for the most serious breaches. In this respect, it will sign an agreement with the Race and Gaming Central Service of the Ministry of Home Affairs for on-site inspections in points of sale and casinos.
Protecting players: a priority for the ANJ
In France, one person out of two is a gambler. Problem gamblers are estimated around 1,2 million. So, preventing excessive or pathological gambling is a public health issue to which the ANJ attaches the utmost importance.
The ANJ will place the players at the heart of the regulation. For that to be real and effective, the ANJ will be as close as possible to the gambling experience and the uses of the players, by articulating its action around the three fronts: information, service and capitalization on the collective intelligence of the players.
The transfer of the management of the file of banned players from the Ministry of Home Affairs to the ANJ starting from September will be an opportunity to make players more responsible. Indeed, the ANJ will propose a new registration process and a real tool for self-protection and control of the game, faster and less guilt-ridden. Concretely, a motivational interview with the ANJ staff will be carried out with the players in order to direct them, if necessary, to health-care professionals.
For Isabelle FALQUE-PIERROTIN, Chairwoman of the ANJ: “The ANJ is not an enlarged ARJEL, it is a new project that requires rethinking regulation. It has to adapt its intervention to monopolies (FDJ and PMU) and to players gambling mostly anonymously in points of sale. I would like to set up a regulation that combines support and control in order to better serve and protect players”.
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