EGBA calls for online casino legalisation in France after publication of illegal gambling figures

The EGBA has expressed concern over the scale of illegal online casino gambling in France.
The EGBA has expressed concern over the scale of illegal online casino gambling in France.

The EGBA has responded after ANJ research estimated the worth of the unlicensed gambling market.

Belgium.-  The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has called for the legalisation of online casino gambling in France as a result of new research into the size of the illegal gambling market. It says the ban on online casino is pushing people to the black market.

The French gambling regulator l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) this week reported on the results of research that estimates that black-market gambling in France could be worth as much as €1.5bn, 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.

The EGBA noted that although France is one of Europe’s larger gambling markets, it is one of only two EU countries which has a ban on online casino games. It says that pushes people to the higher-risk black market. PwC’s study found that websites offering online casino games accounted for up to 50 per cent of France’s unlicensed online gambling traffic. Meanwhile, high-risk players were estimated to account for 79 per cent of the GGR generated by unlicensed operators.

The EGBA said: “While there is clearly demand in France for these games, these websites operate outside of French laws and many of them threaten the safety of French players, who have no legal recourse nor minimum protections, such as self-exclusion, when they use them.”

It added: “To safeguard these players and foster a safe gambling environment for all, EGBA urges the French authorities to reassess the country’s existing ban on online casino games, and, consistent with the already established French regulation of online sports betting, take the necessary steps to ensure there is a safe and regulated environment also for the country’s online casino players. Such a regulatory framework should be based on a multi-licensing model, where several operators can obtain business-to-customer licenses, as this has long been proven to be the most effective method to reduce black markets in online gambling.”

Maarten Haijer, secretary general of the EGBA, said: “The scale of France’s online black market is alarming, and we believe it is one of the EU’s largest online gambling black markets, alongside Germany and Italy. The country’s prohibition of online casino is clearly a big part of the problem. Given the popularity of online casino, and the need to protect consumers from the risks of the black market, it is imperative that the French authorities urgently reassess their current ban on online casino games. The ban is counterproductive and fails consumers.

“By regulating online casino games through a multi-licensing model, France would better protect its consumers, regain more control over its online gambling market, and secure vital tax revenues. The best way to tackle a black market is to establish a competitive regulated market alternative. The time to act is now.” 

bill proposing the legalisation of online casino in France was introduced in May. 

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