The French gambling regulator has called on operators to prioritise reducing their share of gross gaming revenue (GGR) generated by problem gamblers in 2023.
“Operational and measurable results will be expected from operators, to guarantee a safe gambling market. This progress must lead to a significant reduction in the share of excessive gamblers in the operators' GGR,” the National Gambling Authority (ANJ) announced on Thursday (February 23), after it received operators' annual “responsible gambling action plans”.
The share of GGR attributable to problem gamblers was 38.3 percent in 2019, including 20.7 percent for “excessive gamblers”, according to the ANJ.
To achieve its challenge, the regulator has identified four key areas for operators to focus on.
Those key areas include improving tools to prevent underage gambling, such as strengthening the control mechanism in FDJ (the National Lottery operator) and PMU (horseracing) points of sale.
They also include ensuring systems are in place to identify and prevent problem gamblers as quickly as possible, such as improving player tracking and diversifying the support tools available for vulnerable players.
Game designs should also be evaluated in terms of risks of addiction and the likelihood of participation of minors and, if necessary, to define measures to mitigate the harmful effects of the game.
Finally, in terms of information on players, the regulator wants operators to make it clear when they are promoting an excessive gambling awareness campaign from a regular commercial, “by promoting moderation and protection tools, and by reserving these only to customers”.
In its evaluation of the 2022 plans, the ANJ said operators have already made “significant progress” towards meeting the challenges it has previously set for the industry.
Last year, the ANJ challenged operators to address the current protection of minors, as well as the identification and support of excessive gamblers, as it considered them to be “two major public health issues”.
Operators in 2022 were praised for the implementation of measures to prevent underage gambling, including taking steps to prevent minors from circumventing tools to stop them from playing and awareness campaigns before the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Several operators are also considering continuing similar campaigns in 2023.
Improvements in the tools used to detect problem gamblers also led to a “significant increase in the declared number of problem gamblers identified and supported”, according to the ANJ.
The majority of operators stated in their reports that they will continue to make changes in 2023 to their identification and support systems, as well as to their evaluation.
Operators in France are required to provide the ANJ with a strategy to prevent excessive gambling, promote player protection tools and show how they identify and support problem gamblers.
To track operators' progress, the ANJ will be sent a digital dashboard by operators displaying their measures, tools and GGR from problem gambling.
Additionally, the ANJ will publish a practical guide in 2023 covering the identification and support of excessive gamblers.
“This document, drawn up after consultation with the various stakeholders, will notably include examples of key indicators for identifying risky practices and a list of support measures that can be mobilised by operators. Examination of the action plans will make it possible to support the examples of good practices proposed by the operators,” the ANJ said.
Finally, the ANJ “may” initiate control actions relating to the identification and support of problem gamblers, following complaints received from problem gamblers.
“These checks could soon be extended to compliance with the ban on sales to minors,” according to the ANJ.