French igaming regulation debate grows after ANJ report

French igaming regulation debate grows after ANJ report

A key French gambling trade association has reiterated calls for online casino regulation to better control the illegal market.

Publishing its conclusions from L’Autorité Nationale des Jeux’s (ANJ’s) latest report and the PwC study on France’s illegal market published in December, L’Association Française du Jeu En Ligne (AFJEL) said that more than four million players are playing on the online illegal gaming market.

This, it said, compares to only 3.6 million for the legal market.

The AFJEL added that a continued decline in the number of players – a drop of 2.2 per cent for active accounts and of 5.3 per cent for unique players on the illegal market – adds to its concerns.

It noted that the growth of the French online gaming market – at 3.5 per cent – is lower than the European average of 5.5 per cent.

Nicolas Beruad, AFJEL president, said the illicit market has furthermore become a “trojan horse” for players engaging with sports betting, following growth of 6.4 per cent for online sports betting compared to growth of 10.4 per cent for physical points of sale.
He added: “More than four million players are in danger on these illegal sites, without any control.

“Despite the efforts made by the authorities to stem the phenomenon of illegal gambling, we have reached an unprecedented situation: for the first time since the opening of the online gaming market in 2010, there are more players on the illegal market than on the legal market.

“While approved operators are fully mobilised, alongside public authorities in anticipation of the preparation of Euro football and the Paris Olympic Games, the only method that works to dry up illegal supply is to regulate casino games online and thus bring players back to a protective, safe and responsible environment.”

The ANJ had noted in its latest report that the French legal market posted record gross gaming revenue in 2023.

The PwC study in December, however, noted that the illegal gambling market in France could be worth as much as €1.5bn.

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