January 11, 2021 written by

New player protection requirements introduced in France

The French government has begun a new system of keeping gambling operators accountable for providing safer gambling measures for their players.

It has notified the European Commission that all casinos and betting providers operating in France are required to abide by a new set of rules. This includes creating a safer gambling action plan and providing tools to enable their customers to bet safely, such as deposit limits.

Operators will be required to present their plan to ANJ (Autorité Nationale des Jeux), the French national gaming authority formed in June 2020. The regulator will then either approve the plan or add further recommendations if it finds the report unsatisfactory.

The French government said this was designed to give ANJ more of an understanding of the efforts currently being made. The reports will also help identify the hurdles encountered by operators in implementing safer gambling strategies.

This action plan should include a review of all the steps and decisions made in the previous year to prevent both excessive and illegal underage gambling, as well as plans for the next year. 

France has two gambling monopolies – lottery giant La Française des Jeux (FDJ) and horse racing operator Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) – who must submit their plans a month before other operators, as they set a precedent and should be held to a higher standard.

Advertising rules and regulations

A separate action plan must also be produced to outline operators’ promotional plans for the upcoming year. 

With this information, the ANJ may order an operator to withdraw a commercial communication if it “directly or indirectly incites minors or persons banned from gambling to gamble or involves an excessive incentive to gamble”.

The UK has made similar efforts to restrict operators from producing marketing that targets minors (intentionally or unintentionally) by banning celebrity appearances in gambling ads

Tools for players

A further section of the new rules states operators must “provide all players with the tools and resources necessary” to stay in control of their gambling, such as deposit or play time limits. Players may freely set their limits, and operators’ suggested limits should be “reasonable”.

“All of these tools and information must be easily accessible, adapted to the specificities of the game in question and attractive so as to arouse the interest of players and facilitate their use,” the draft says.

The new regulations also require operators to “limit the risk potential of addiction” when designing their game offering and must “assess the addiction potential of the gambling offer and its attractiveness to minors, before and after providing it”. 

Operators must examine all aspects of their games, including how the layout, design, special features and promotional strategies affect this.

What do we think?

This sounds like a thorough and comprehensive order from the ANJ. It’s unlikely legitimate operators will be able to get away with twisting these rules, and it’s great to see authorities make these calls now rather than rolling them out slowly. 

The deposit and play time limits in easily-accessible “attractive” places, “so as to arouse the interest of players and facilitate their use” is a big ask from operators as they are sure to lose a lot of business, but we’re glad to see it happen. Hopefully, this will prevent vulnerable players from being lead astray into dangerous territory. 

Sources suggest the UK has similar plans to enforce deposit limits this year, though the details of how that could look have not been yet announced. 

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