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France’s ANJ puts player protection at the heart of new strategy

| By Robin Harrison
French gambling regulator L’Autorité nationale des jeux (ANJ) has set out a new, five-pillar strategy that will guide its approach to overseeing the market over the next three years.

ANJ said work on the strategy had begun as soon as it was officially formed in June last year as the first authority with oversight for all forms of gambling in the country, including online gambling, casinos, betting on horse racing and lottery games.

This process involve all of the regulator’s staff, as well as its board members, and was approved in December last year. 

It sets out five key strategic focuses for 2021 to 2023, with a view to ensuring legal gambling provided significant returns for society, while ensuring players were protected from harm. 

The first goal is to add value to the gambling market, by providing a prescriptive regulatory framework that guides licensees’ behaviour, and provides effective deterrents for wrongdoing. By doing so, ANJ explained, it would help preserve the public image of legal gambling, and ensure that it remained a recreational past-time for customers. 

Second, ANJ aims to place players at the heart of its regulatory actions. It noted that there are an estimated 1.4m problem gamblers in France, making it a key public health issue. This meant that it had to ensure operators fully implement new player protection measures, such as mandatory deposit limits, notified by the French government to the European Commission earlier this month. 

ANJ will also look to build a progressive regulatory system, in which it is as creative in its approach to managing the sector as operators are in developing new products, promotional strategies and technology solutions. 

“In order to be attuned to this world, ANJ must integrate this culture of innovation and digital technology, both with respect to the players it regulates and internally, in its operating mode and tools,” the regulator said. 

Further cooperation with regulators in other European jurisdictions will be another key element of ANJ’s focus going forward. It said collaboration and coordination with authorities in other markets needed to be improved, to fight criminal activity such as illegal gambling or money laundering. 

Finally, ANJ will look to encourage collaboration internally. It said an expanded brief, that goes beyond its predecessor L’Autorité nationale des jeux en ligne’s (ARJEL) online focus, meant that its teams’ workloads had increased significantly. This meant that different units within the regulator are to work closely together on projects going forward, it said. 

“The aim is to make ‘working together efficiently’ the common language of ANJ, by multiplying opportunities for exchanges and meetings, by introducing new forms of work organisation that are more […] empowering, but also by embodying the values of goodwill and conviviality on a daily basis,” the regulator explained.

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