French Ombudsman Publishes 2023 Report

May 16, 2024
France’s National Gambling Authority (ANJ) has published its gaming mediator report for 2023, which included 1,523 requests for intervention. 

France’s National Gambling Authority (ANJ) has published its gaming mediator report for 2023, which included 1,523 requests for intervention.

That figure is an 11 percent jump from the previous year’s number, which was driven primarily by sports-betting users (91 percent). 

Bettors' complaints mainly involved “disputes relating to the result or cancellation of bets or the management of their accounts (blocking, closure, difficulty withdrawal of funds, etc.)”.

Half of the requests (752) were declared inadmissible, largely due to the fact that operators had not been notified of the complaint before it was referred for mediation, which is a requirement. 

A third of requests, according to the press release, were resolved to “partial or total satisfaction”. 

Ninety-five percent of submitted disputes pertained to online gaming, which accounts for 20 percent of all legal gaming in France. 

Of the disputes, 45 percent “lead to the conclusion that the player’s complaints are well-founded and that the measure taken does not comply with the law or is inappropriate or unfair”, according to the report’s introduction, written by gambling ombudsman Denys Millet.

Millet wrote that operators have often reversed their decisions by the time the mediation office has come to this conclusion. Their proposals for resolutions are therefore only necessary in 18 percent of all cases.

The report recognised that “player/operator antagonism is very strong”, citing that “one of the five main market operators”, but not indicating which, did not comply with any of the proposals submitted by the office. 

The most problematic category of complaint is fraud, where “some operators are sticking to their guns despite the ombudsman’s reminder of the need to provide specific evidence to justify cancelling the bet(s) or even the assets in the player’s account”. 

Millet asks in his introduction when referencing operators that refused to comply: “Does this mean that the mediation system is ineffective? Such an analysis would ignore a more complex reality.” 

The ombudsman said that two of the previous recommendations are often not being complied with. 

The first is improving the clarity of wording in bets and the second relates to betting limits. 

“Players are still not in a position to be able to ensure that the stake limitation appearing when their bets are validated, in particular when the bet is placed."

For the year 2024, the ombudsman has four new recommendations going forward. 

First, to refund the balance on player accounts if the account has been closed due to suspicions of fraud.

Second, for the removal of potestative clauses, which means a contract that will only be fulfilled if the other party wants it to be. 

Third, to block any accounts that have a recorded discrepancy between the data entered by the player and the data in the submitted government ID. 

Finally, greater transparency regarding terms and conditions that are designed to “limit” the operator’s financial exposure in an effort to decrease the number of disputes they receive related to this issue. 

Of the complaints submitted, French operator Winamax had accrued the most, with 185, followed by PMU with 150 and Unibet with 129.

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