ANJ Granted New Powers Under French Consumer Code

The French Conseil d’État has given the l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) the authority to sue licenced operators that do not comply with national consumer safety laws and standards.

The Conseil d’Etat, also known as France’s Council of State, is the government’s legal counsel on issues relating to the French judicial system and its Supreme Courts.

The council had resolved a two-year controversy about whether ARJEL, the previous online gaming regulator, could sue registered operators under French “Consumer Code” rules.

ARJEL’s appeal has been challenged by AFJEL, a French online gaming group, which said that licenced operators required impartial supervision to handle customer disputes and inconsistencies.

As France’s only single gambling authority, the ANJ succeeded ARJEL’s representation in the appeal, which will take over the controlled sector regulation of French gambling in June 2020.

‘Extended powers’

The ANJ appealed again, claiming that as the new gaming regulator in France, it wanted to secure ‘extended powers’ in order to improve player rights.

The Conseil d’Etat ended its two-year investigation in March, deeming ANJ an enforcement body capable of enforcing French Consumer Code laws.

According to the board, ANJ has the authority to classify Consumer Code laws in disputes including “unfair terms and unfair commercial practises.”

Gambling related conflicts

The council has decided that the legal framework of Consumer Code legislation should be extended to include gambling-related conflicts, enabling the ANJ to bring immediate legal action against operators who are found to have violated national standards.

The Conseil d’Etat warned operators that the ANJ had “no obligation to make its interpretation” of France’s Consumer Code public after granting it expanded powers.

The final proviso was given as part of ANJ’s effort to preserve a “soft law” approach to the cohesive control of French gambling, for which it would create a set of guidelines for operators to strengthen consumer rights and safeguards.