French regulator bans use of athletes in gambling ads

The French gambling regulator said it could propose legislative changes if clubs and operators do not comply.
The French gambling regulator said it could propose legislative changes if clubs and operators do not comply.

The measure is intended to protect minors from exposure to gambling advertising.

France.- The French gambling regulator Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) has published new guidelines on gambling advertising. The new rules include a prohibition on the use of active athletes and referees in gambling campaigns and betting partnerships.

Meanwhile, minors must be excluded from participation in commercial activities connected with partnerships with a gambling operator. Active athletes will be prohibited from making predictions about competition outcomes and from actively promoting odds on a match in their discipline.

Billboards and commercial animations should include warning messages to increase the visibility of responsible gambling messages. The ANJ also recommended that French sports clubs remove gambling logos from child-size ‘under-18’ shirts and limit or remove “bet redirect links” and “betting content” from club websites.

The regulator said: “Our aim is to safeguard young minds from the attractiveness of gambling and ensure their sports heroes aren’t exploited for promotional purposes.”

It added: “Presenting sports personalities in such contexts blurs the line between healthy competition and gambling, potentially leading to excessive or pathological gambling.”

“While these guidelines provide a robust framework for regulating gambling activities, their effectiveness will be determined by the willingness of sports organisations, clubs, and athletes to adhere to them. The sports and gambling landscape is undeniably changing, and these measures mark a step towards ensuring that the shift doesn’t compromise the welfare of the youngest and most vulnerable fans.”

The ANJ plans to periodically review its guidelines, with the first review scheduled for the first quarter of 2024. Its recommendations cannot be imposed by law, but it said it would propose legislative and regulatory changes if clubs and operators do not follow them, noting the all-out bans on gambling adverts that are to be introduced in the Netherlands and Belgium next month.

ANJ reports record GGR for 2022

The ANJ has reported that French gaming revenue (GGR) generated by its licensees in 2022 reached a record €12.9bn. Almost two-thirds of revenue was generated by the two big monopolies, lottery operator Française des Jeux (FDJ) and horse racing betting operator Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU).

Meanwhile, Philippe Latombe of the Democratic Movement Party has introduced a bill to regulate online casino in France. Bill 1248, which will be considered by the National Assembly, proposes an initial five-year moratorium during which online casino would be offered only by existing national operators.

Article 2 sets the end of this timeframe as January 1, 2030, after which the market would be opened to international operators. The justification for this organisation is to protect existing operators and allow a stable start for the market before fully opening to competition.

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