L’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), the French gambling regulator, has warned licensed sportsbooks that player bets cannot be refused, restricted, or limited ‘without legitimate reasoning’.
It comes following a rise in player complaints made against online sportsbooks in France to the national gambling ombudsman Games Mediator. The body found ‘a rising 17% of complaints’ had been against operators for refusing or partially limiting bets.
This summer, France’s Council of State ruled that Consumer Code legislation could be applied to gambling-specific disputes between players and licensed operators.
The ruling granted ANJ the right to penalise licensed operators for failing to meet national laws and standards on consumer rights.
Furthermore, the regulator’s guidance underlined that “these practices constitute refusals to provide a service to a consumer, prohibited as such unless the operator can justify a legitimate reason”.
Under the rules of France’s Consumer Code, the ANJ can penalise an operator for ‘refusal to provide a service to a consumer’ or if the firm is deemed to have carried out an “unfair or deceptive consumer practice”.
Licensed operators can only refuse or limit a player’s bets for legitimate reasons which can help with the prevention of problem gambling or if a player is deemed to be an AML or threat.
The regulator noted that operators could apply ‘financial exposure safeguards’ to their betting markets. However, operators must prove that all sportsbook customers have been treated equally.
“The ANJ college underlines that an operator who offers the public an offer of online sports betting at odds cannot refuse or limit the bets of players who accept this offer, unless they have a legitimate reason,” ANJ stated.
“Operators who persist in such practices of limiting wagering without justifying a legitimate reason are exposed to the initiation of proceedings before the sanctions commission of the National Gaming Authority.”