Tougher player protection rules in the cards for France
Many new player protection rules have been passed on to the European Commission by the French Government, requiring operators to provide certain helpful tools including deposit limits to users and create more secure gambling action plans.
ANJ, a newly-formed regulatory body that covers all types of gambling under the brand new rules will be the main address for new plan submissions. Basically, all operators will have to present a safer gambling action plan to this new regulator which will, in turn, approve the plan and/or add more recommendations if a plan is deemed inadequate.
Just as the French government disclosed, this was specifically created to provide ANJ with “a better knowledge of the actions developed by the various gaming activity sectors and to identify the difficulties encountered by the operators”. But why is this action plan taking place now? Well, the French Government decided it is time they took on a stricter approach in order to prevent both underage and problem gambling.
France’s gambling monopolies – lottery giant La Française des Jeux (FDJ) and horse racing operator Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) are required to submit their plans by the 30th of September 2021.
As for the others, the dates are the following:
- Online operators should submit their plan by the 30th of November.
- Trackside racing operators should submit their plan by the 31st of December.
- Land-based casino and gaming hall operators should submit their plan by the 31st of December.
An action plan covering operators’ promotional strategy should also be created and submitted separately by the 31st of October. Upon reviewing the plans, ANJ could possibly request an operator’s commercial communication withdrawal if it “directly or indirectly incites minors or persons banned from gambling to gamble or involves an excessive incentive to gamble”. Operators who operate more than one brand or venue are required submit only one plan.
The new rules require operators to “provide all players with the tools and resources necessary” to help them stay in control of their gambling, such as play time limits or deposit restrictions. Players can set their own limits as they please, while the operators’ indicated limits has to be “reasonable”. The draft states: “All of these tools and information must be easily accessible, adapted to the specificities of the game in question and attractive so as to arouse the interest of players and facilitate their use.”
These new regulations force operators to “limit the risk potential of addiction” when producing and setting up their game offering and must “assess the addiction potential of the gambling offer and its attractiveness to minors, before and after providing it”.
Operators must look into the way their presentation and promotional strategies (along with their platform and structural features of their games) influence this. In order to make such examinations, the regulations propose the use of scoring tools based on objective bases, including ASTERIG (Assessment Tool to Measure and Evaluate the Risk Potential of Gambling Products).
Moreover, the regulations call for operators to make it clear on their website or at their venues that minors are forbidden from gambling. The rules are open for comments by stakeholders until the end of the standstill period on the 29th of March.