French gambling has begun its ‘unified era’ under the L’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) which will replace l’Autorité nationale de régulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL) as of today after board members held their first formal meeting.
ANJ will act as a single regulatory body which oversees all forms of gambling in France, including online gambling, casinos, horse racing and lottery games, which accounts for 78% of the betting market in France.
Under its remit, ANJ will monitor all games of La Française des Jeux or PMU sold across online and retail; activities at the country’s 228 racetracks; the 202 casinos in France – however the ANJ will not hold responsibility for anti-money laundering protocols nor the integrity of the games offered, which will be overseen by the Ministry of the Interior.
In addition, the ANJ will have the authority to instruct a gambling operator to withdraw advertising materials as well as being able to carry out on-site controls.
The transfer of powers from ARJEL to ANJ was formalised in March 2020, in which Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin has been tasked to lead the regulatory body as chairwoman.
Falque-Pierrotin said: “The ANJ is not an enlarged ARJEL, it is a new project that requires rethinking regulation. It has to adapt its intervention to monopolies (FDJ and PMU) and to players gambling mostly anonymously in points of sale.
“I would like to set up a regulation that combines support and control in order to better serve and protect players.”
The ANJ is said to be developing two reference frameworks the first of which prioritises the prevention of problem gambling and the protection of minors, while the second looks at the prevention of fraud, money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
In 2019, the French Senate ordered the En Marche government to form a ‘unified regulator’ for French gambling, having agreed to allow the government to sell its majority stake in lottery operator Francaise des Jeux (FDJ).
The Senate stated that French gambling laws had been undermined by ‘double guardianship’ in which incumbents were governed by three separate bodies