ANJ launches public consultation amid sports betting advertising concerns

By Peter Lynch

French gambling regulator L’Autorité nationale des jeux (ANJ) has launched a public consultation on the advertising practices of gambling operators.

The decision comes following the recent 2020 UEFA European Football Championship where, according to ANJ, “abuses were noted in terms of advertising pressure on the part of sports betting operators.”

Such abuses from operators involved the targeting of young audiences, as well as the message of making money easily through gambling.

A study carried out by Harris Interactive from 6-8 July 2021, involving a sample of 1,038 people representative of French people aged 18 and over, found that over half of respondents believe there are too many sports betting advertisements, with eight in ten believing that the ads carry a risk of addiction.

The regulatory body noted that other European countries have already taken measures to limit such advertising, and so it has launched a public wide consultation on the practices of gambling operators in terms of advertising, and sports betting advertising in particular.

Taking place in September and October, the consultation aims to “produce an inventory of the way in which advertising on gambling is perceived by the various players and the risks associated with them,” and “carry out an assessment of the tools available to the ANJ to regulate advertising.”

If necessary, the consultation will then generate additional avenues in which the ANJ could “better ensure compliance with the principle of a recreational game that is the basis of the French model, particularly among young audiences and vulnerable populations.”

ANJ will run a questionnaire, two workshops and a debate for the general public on the issue, with a workshop, regional debate and a call for contributions to be organised for professional stakeholders.

“To question the permanence of a consensus around the French model of gambling and the changes that could possibly be made in terms of advertising, the ANJ has chosen to focus on the way of a consultation open to the whole public,” said ANJ President Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin.

“Indeed, the advertising of gambling concerns us all: players, non-players, parents, educators, operators, etc. Everyone will be able to express themselves on the acceptable balance to be found between advertising on gambling and maintaining a recreational practice of gambling. It will then be up to the regulator to make balanced and effective recommendations, based on a social pact, shared by all.”

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