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ANJ: Ombudsman mediation requests down 20.8%

| By Marese O'Hagan
France's gambling ombudsman Denys Millet received 1,373 requests for mediation in 2022, a fall of 20.8% according to the third annual ombudsman activity report from l'Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ).

As the gambling ombudsman, Millet mediates disputes brought forward by players against licensed operators in France or those with monopoly status – namely Française des Jeux (FDJ) and Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU). This is with the aim of promoting an amicable settlement between the two entities.

Isabelle Falque Pierrotin, ANJ president, said that the relationship between the regulator and the ombudsman has seen progress in the realm of safer gambling so far.

“Both the gambling mediator and ANJ are in their third year of operation and this period offers
them enough hindsight to engage in a critical assessment of their respective activities and their mutual relations,” she said.

“Regarding these, it seems to me that we have made good progress and that our two missions support each other to improve player protection.”

Millet said that this year’s report allows further opportunity for more detailed analysis.

“After a little over three years of operation of gambling mediation, the 2022 annual report gives me the opportunity to draw up a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the overall changes observed, but also to carry out more detailed analysis by cross-referencing data such as those relating to the type of disputes and the outcome of the mediation.”

Third annual report

A grand majority of the requests for mediation in 2022 (90.1%) were related to sports betting. This was similar to 2021, when the requests came to 91.5%.

This is notable against the number of other requests – lottery games incurred just 5% of disputes filed, while casino games accounted for 4% and horse betting made up 1%.

In total, 20% of the sports betting disputes were taken against Winamax operators, 17% were against Betclic and 14% were against SPS Betting France. In addition, 14% were against FDJ and 11% were against PMU.

For casino games, 73% of the disputes filed concerned Winamax, a significant rise from 29% in 2021.

Meanwhile, for the six horse racing betting operators in France, disputes were filed against four of them. A total of 50% of the requests were placed against PMU.

Admissible requests

The total number of admissible requests made in 2022 was 744, while the total inadmissible requests totaled at 629.

In terms of admissible requests, the number against Winamax fell sharply compared to 2021. The report states that requests against Winamax hit 20% in 2022, compared to 39% in 2021. This was due to a reduced number of repeat complaints and a fall in the number of disputes against welcome offers.

In reference to the report, the ombudsman gave four main recommendations to operators to reduce complaints filed. First, he said to give players a reason why their account is being blocked. Second, he encouraged operators to reduce turnaround time for withdrawal requests.

He also recommended that operators give more leniency against accounts that accidentally input data that does not match that on their identification documents, asking them to review the situation further and not immediately close accounts.

Lastly, he implored operators to be more transparent about deposit limits when the limits are put in place to protect the player.

Last week, ANJ announced that it planned to prohibit role models from being used in gambling advertising in the future.

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