l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), France’s unified gambling regulator, has ordered operators to prioritise reducing their percentage share of gross gaming revenues (GGR) generated from ‘problematic players’.
The initiative was called upon by ANJ’s board following its review of action plans on the “prevention of excessive or pathological gambling” submitted by licensees in 2022.
Problematic gambling is recognised as “French gambling’s most significant risk”. ANJ cited figures by market monitor L’Observatoire des Jeux, which estimated that in 2020 French gambling had recorded “1.4 million gamblers at risk, including nearly 400,000 that are classified at a pathological level”.
L’Observatoire des Jeux believes that “the share of (GGR) Gaming Revenue attributable to problem gamblers represented 38.3% in 2019, including 20.7% for problem gamblers”.
The ANJ seeks to drastically reduce the percentage of GGR generated by high-risk players, with operators having been ordered to “implement concrete actions and best practices to promote a recreational model” to customers.
2023 will see the ANJ prioritise four key areas to prevent excessive or pathological gambling, as operators will be charged with relaying “measurable results on actions undertaken”.
The first criteria will focus on the “prevention of underage gambling”, in which licensed operators must clearly communicate age restrictions across all products and carry out comprehensive age-verification checks to certify customers.
The ANJ highlighted that it has ordered FDJ and PMU to strengthen control mechanisms to ensure compliance with the ban on sales to minors across their retail POS networks.
French operators (online and retail) must also establish ‘alert systems’ to identify and intervene on excessive gambling displayed by individual customers. Safeguards will be required to document interventions and customer play records for the ANJ to review.
Further precautions are to be integrated into ‘game designs’, which must display a percentage of risk warnings to customers and operators are further required to revise their games portfolio to encourage recreational play.
Final orders dictate that operators must promote “excessive gambling awareness campaigns from commercial communications, by promoting moderation and protection tools, and prioritising them to customers”.
Meanwhile, online operators must ensure that a customer is made aware of “tools favouring control” each time they choose to gamble and are informed of their “gaming activities including losses” during each session of play.
All licensed operators must ensure that feedback and data is submitted to the ‘ANJ Dashboard’ that will oversee the progress of the mandate and “make it possible to measure quantitatively and qualitatively the actual results obtained”.
A practical guide will be published in 2023 covering the identification and support of excessive gamblers, and recommending insights and best practices from diverse stakeholders involved in reducing pathological gambling.
The ANJ stated: “This document, drawn up after consultation with the various stakeholders, will notably include examples of key indicators for identifying risky practices and a list of support measures that can be mobilised by operators.
“Examination of the action plans will make it possible to support the examples of good practices proposed by the operators.”
ANJ expressed confidence in achieving its goal having seen its 2022 actions plans demonstrate significant progress by French operators on preventing underage gambling, detecting at risk gamblers and improving intervention by customer care teams.