ANJ vows to monitor French betting adverts tightly for Paris 2024

The promotional budgets of French-licensed online sports betting and gaming operators will increase by 14% on an annual basis and reach €670m in 2024, with 30% of that figure to be spent between May and July to coincide with the UEFA Euro 2024 football tournament and the Olympic Games in Paris.

The figures, published by the French gambling regulator Autortié Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) following its analysis of operators’ advertising strategies for 2024, also revealed that 59% of the operators’ marketing budgets will focus on bonuses and free bets to encourage player signups.

Operators will spend almost half (46%) of their budgets on digital channels, with television advertising accounting for 26% and sports sponsorship 15%.

Of the 16 licensed operators in France, five will spend 82% of their marketing budgets on bonuses or other forms of free bets, prompting ANJ to remind them that they should “significantly moderate their promotional strategy so as not to exert excessive advertising pressure (…) particularly during the period of Euro 2024 and the Olympic Games in Paris”.

Actors appearing in advertisements for online gambling will have to be over 25 years of age and operators will have to limit their digital campaigns to three sports per day.

In an interview with BFM TV, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, President of ANJ, said the regulator wanted “the advertising that surrounds sports betting to be fair” and that the entire advertising ecosystem had agreed to moderate the advertising activities of operators.

Falque-Pierrotin added that any social media influencers employed by operators would have to be over 18 years of age and that the aim of the measures was to encourage responsible advertising.

Operators promote a product that has the potential to be “toxic and yes you can offer it, but with a number of (safety) guarantees and barriers”, added Falque-Pierottin.

“It’s about finding a balance between too much regulation which kills the market and a regulatory framework that enables a recreational market to develop, that is the strategy we have chosen.”

Operators will have to communicate these offers in an understandable way and adopt “a moderate use of the most inciting promotional tools” such as ‘fast poker tournaments’ or betting offers with ‘odds boosts’, as these entail “an increased risk of problem gambling”, ANJ added.

ANJ noted that the majority of operators intend to pursue the strategy they have put in place for 2023, “characterised by a desire to retain players, against a backdrop of intense sporting activity around the Euro and the Olympic Games”.