ANJ Cites Record Gambling Performance But Warns Of Conduct Duties

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, France’s new single gambling authority, L’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), published its first annual industry summary, claiming that French online gambling produced record performance.

The online betting industry in France produced overall sales of €1.74 billion in 2019, up 22 percent from €1.42 billion in the previous year.

‘New market players’

According to ANJ, industry growth was fueled by a number of factors, including the fact that ‘new market players’ benefited from the high demand for digital gaming services during France’s health crisis.

Despite the cancellation of all French professional sports leagues beginning in April, income from sports betting in France increased by 7 percent to €940 million (FY2019: €880 million).

In comparison, according to ANJ, French sports betting incumbents have signed up one million new customers in 2020, supporting the sector’s rebound in the second half of the year.

In other news, thanks to PMU’s emphasis on digitising its brands, totaliser wagers in French racing increased by 33 percent to €1.5 billion (FY2019: €1.1 billion).

‘Historical growth benchmark’

The sport’s monopoly, PMU, was able to set a new “historical growth benchmark” in turnover of €354 million (FY2019: €272 million), a positive development given that the sport’s point-of-sale network was completely destroyed.

PMU’s successful customer base rose by 5 percent to 630,000 (2019: 599,000), owing to racing punters moving to the company’s new digital service.

Maintaining momentum in all digital segments, French online poker sales reached a new high of €450 million in 2019, up 64 percent from €272 million in 2019 – ‘erasing its previous benchmark of 2011, the first full year of the sector’.

The ANJ has released a new ‘technical command’ to licenced operators for 2021, which the department will use to present more detailed monitoring of French online gambling results auditing all products.

Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, Chairwoman of the ANJ, also warned incumbents that 2021 will be a year of transition for French gaming in terms of safer gambling and social responsibility responsibilities.

Step up initiatives to prevent problem gambling

Commenting in the ANJ market summary Falque-Pierrotin said: “The good health of the online gambling sector, due in particular to the massive arrival of new players in sports betting and poker, means that operators must step up their initiatives to prevent problem gambling and protect minors.

“In line with the new obligations that came into force in 2020, they must better identify and assist at-risk players, provide tools for moderating playtime or betting and ensure responsible promotional strategies. This is more important than ever, and with major sporting events approaching before the summer, promoting recreational gambling must be a priority shared by all.“

The ANJ has obtained federal approval for the creation of a new problem gambling and addiction plan that will be applied throughout French regions and health systems in early 2021.