ANJ Wants Operators To Cut Back On Advertising

February 25, 2022
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France’s gambling regulator (ANJ) has called on the gambling industry to “de-intensify” all forms of advertising, alongside releasing a series of new advertising guidelines and recommendations.

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France’s gambling regulator (ANJ) has called on the gambling industry to “de-intensify” all forms of advertising, alongside releasing a series of new advertising guidelines and recommendations.

The announcement follows the conclusion of a consultation launched in the wake of an “unprecedented” amount of sports-betting adverts in the first half of 2021, as a result of the UEFA European Football Championship.

Advertising has a significant impact on vulnerable audiences, operators are increasingly using digital methods of advertising popular with young people, which often fall outside the scope of current regulations, and gambling prevention messages are not very visible, according to the consultation.

Operators have been told to scale back on TV ads and limit players' exposure on forms of media, such as on websites or social media platforms, to three adverts per medium each day.

Players should also be given the ability to implement an “advertising moderator”, which would allow them to determine the frequency and volume of notifications they receive when signing up to an operator, according to the ANJ.

Operators should not use influencers or brand ambassadors that do not appear to be over 18 years old or that have a proportion of their audience who are minors greater than 16 percent, the regulator said.

Implementing the recommendations will see the ANJ cooperate with the professional advertising regulatory authority (ARPP) and the audiovisual communication regulatory authority (ARCOM).

One of the tasks the ARPP and ARCOM will assist with is the development of a digital advertising best practices charter, aimed at better regulating the volumes and frequency of commercial communications.

A working group will also be formed to address planned changes to sport sponsorship laws.

The ANJ said it aims to have these changes in place by September 1, 2022, ahead of the FIFA World Cup in November-December, 2022.

A monitoring committee composed of industry stakeholders will assess the implementation of the recommendations.

Separately, advertising guidelines issued by the ANJ clarify what ads are prohibited due to the risk of promoting excessive gambling, trivialising gambling, containing unfounded statements on the chances of winning, or equating gambling to changing social status or it being an alternative means to an income.

For instance, the rules surrounding what is deemed to be promoting social success clarifies that the ANJ interprets it as “financial success, sentimental or sexual success, glory, power, respect, admiration from third parties or a sign of maturity”.

Separately, a recent survey by the ANJ also found youth gambling is on the rise, with more than 80 percent of French 15 to 17-year-olds exposed to gambling ads and around 35 percent of them saying they have gambled at least once in the past year.

The research estimated 7.6 percent of all 15-17 year-olds have a problem with excessive gambling.

The ANJ recently demanded “substantial progress” to be made by the majority of operators when it comes to preventing excessive or pathological gambling after it reviewed operators' responsible gambling action plans.

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