French gambling regulator set to reduce excessive gamblers

Responsible Gambling

Three years after its establishment and the installation of the new gambling regulation, the ANJ presents its strategic plan for 2024-2026. 

The reduction of excessive gaming and the social damage it causes as well as the protection of minors are placed at the center of its action. To achieve this ambitious objective which reflects a problem that is no longer individual but social, the ANJ calls on all economic and institutional actors concerned to mobilize alongside it.

The first cycle of regulation placed under the aegis of the National Gaming Authority ended in 2023 with the observation of a booming gambling market, with more than 13 billion euros in turnover. business, representing more than 50% growth since the opening of the market in 2011. Over time, gambling has become a common consumer product, for all ages and all backgrounds: more than one in two French people play today, which represents an amount of spending of more than 55 billion euros each year. Gaming is at the heart of our societies and this phenomenon can be seen in all European countries.

However, gambling is not a product like any other and it is indeed the risks inherent in this activity which have justified the State putting in place a restrictive regulatory policy which results in a legal objective of limitation. and supervision of the supply and consumption of games.  In 2019, the public authorities wanted to strengthen the protection of players and the ANJ was set up with this objective.

Although substantial progress has been made by gaming operators over the past three years in this area, problem gambling still occupies too large a place in the gambling market. In 2019, the Games Observatory estimated the number of players at risk at 1.4 million, including nearly 400,000 at the pathological level [1] . In total, problem gambling generates more than 38% of the sector’s turnover and 21% for excessive gamblers alone [2] . These figures, which must be updated soon, illustrate the reality of a social problem, for young people in particular, with collateral damage in the player’s direct entourage: over-indebtedness, family problems, educational difficulties, etc. 

It is in this context that the ANJ conducted its discussions with all stakeholders to define the new regulatory directions for the period 2024-2026. These place the protection of minors and the reduction of excessive gambling and the social damage it causes at the center of the regulator’s action, like a common thread inspiring all of its action. 

The new ANJ roadmap is structured around three fundamental pillars:

The first of these pillars, which reflects the public health issues of regulation, aims to drastically reduce the share and number of excessive gamblers within the gambling market . 

This central orientation for the ANJ will require significant efforts for operators. It cannot be achieved without a coherent and balanced regulatory policy, which seeks to consolidate the French model of the gambling market. 

At the same time, this implies for the ANJ to continue its action to preserve the transparency and integrity of the sector, at the forefront of which is the fight against illegal gambling ( second pillar ) and to strengthen the economic dimension of regulation to better know market balances and provide solutions to the changes it faces today ( third pillar). 

The strategic plan is finally based on three bases which form the conditions for the success of the ambition it carries: making scientific knowledge of the market and gaming practices the compass of regulation; embody at national and European level regulation based on dialogue and cooperation to drive the repositioning of the market; finally position the ANJ as a laboratory for bold, effective and exemplary public action. 

The period which is opening is critical for the French gambling market: it can destabilize the French model as well as strengthen it.   This strategic plan should make it possible to strengthen the French model of regulation as an acceptable compromise between openness and protection. 

For Isabelle FALQUE-PIERROTIN, President of the ANJ:  “  After three years of operation of the ANJ, we consider today that the regulation of gambling must take a turning point which implies that the market gradually pivots towards a less intensive model . This proactive objective of reducing the number of excessive gamblers and strengthening the protection of minors will be monitored over 3 years, adjusted based on monitoring indicators and prevalence studies. It can only be achieved if all the players join forces alongside the regulator to move the lines: gaming operators, public authorities, institutions, associations, etc.