ANJ estimates unlicensed French gambling market worth up to €1.5bn

The ANJ estimates the unlicensed gambling may generate up to 11 per cent of GGR.
The ANJ estimates the unlicensed gambling may generate up to 11 per cent of GGR.

The ANJ says it will step up its actions against unlicensed operators.

France.- The French gambling regulator l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) has reported on the results of research into the potential size of the unlicensed gambling sector in France. It estimates that black-market gambling could be worth as much as €1.5bn. That would be more than 10 per cent of the entire French gambling market.

Conducted by PwC, the research identifies 510 unlicensed gambling websites, of which 21 generated an estimated 60 per cent of traffic to unlicensed gambling. The amount of gross gaming revenue (GGR) generated could be anywhere between €748m and €1.5bn, 5 to 11 per cent of a market that was worth €12.9bn in 2022.

The study was conducted from January to March of this year using a web panel with more than 11,000 participants. According to the research, around half of the illegal gambling websites whose owners could be identified belonged to companies registered in Curaçao. Cyprus was also identified as a common location.

Half of the traffic comprised online casino and slots. Online casino gaming is currently illegal in France, although a bill was introduced in May. As for why players choose unlicensed sites, the research cites the lack of betting limits and identity checks, a wider range of games and an expectation of higher winnings.

The ANJ raised concerns about the proportion of unlicensed GGR coming from high-risk gamblers. It says the research estimates such gamblers generated 79 per cent of unregulated GGR.

ANJ to step up action against illegal gambling

As a result of the findings, the ANJ says it will step up its action against illegal gambling. It said it will file reports to permit cases to be brought against operators in Curaçao or Cyprus, noting that the ANJ itself is unable to take action against them.

It also plans to warn software publishers and hosting providers who provide services to illegal sites and will take action against payment service providers. It also intends to increase information sharing with other European regulators via GREF and will do more to raise public awareness of illegal gambling.

It said: “The scale and risks associated with illegal gambling justify even more vigorous measures to combat it, in addition to those already being taken by the ANJ.”

Last month, the ANJ introduced a new system to monitor for sports manipulation. Implemented during the Rugby World Cup, the system includes daily monitoring by the ANJ to prevent betting on easily manipulated events and low-level competitions. Operators must log online bets to help the regulator identify unusual betting patterns hidden among operators and abnormal odds. The ANJ has the authority to suspend a betting market if it suspects manipulation. 

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