ANJ Completes Regulatory Takeover as French Gambling Authority

  • Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin will head the new body after spearheading its formation
  • ANJ will oversee all aspects of France's gambling market, including racetracks and casinos
  • Main objectives include increasing player protection, fighting criminal activity such as money laundering
  • Formation of a new gambling regulatory framework was a prerequisite of FDJ's privatization
view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
The ARJEL has completed its transition into the ANJ, France’s newly formed gambling regulator. [Image:]

A transition of authority

L’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) has officially replaced the Autorité de Régulation des Jeux en Ligne (ARJEL) as France’s gambling regulator. The new authority, which held its first formal meeting on Monday, will oversee all aspects of gambling in the country, including casinos, horseracing, lottery, and online gambling.

The ARJEL announced on Twitter the completion of the transition and the appointment of Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin as president of the new regulatory body. Falque-Pierrotin, who is also the head of the French National Commission for Data Protection, will run the ANJ after spearheading the transition.

The ANJ will have a number of regulatory powers. It will oversee all games of La Française des Jeux (FDJ) or PMU sold online or via retail, and will control activities in France’s 202 casinos and on its 228 racetracks. It will also be able to instruct operators to remove advertisements and perform on-site controls.

The authority will not be responsible for anti-money laundering procedures and quality of games, however. These will be policed by the Ministry of the Interior.

The ANJ’s four objectives

The ANJ has outlined four main objectives, including preventing excessive or pathological gambling and protecting minors; ensuring the integrity, reliability, and transparency of gaming operations; and preventing fraudulent and criminal activities. It will also seek to ensure a balanced, fair development of different types of games to avoid any economic destabilization of the gaming sector.

ANJ will primarily aim to assist operators

A Q&A with Falque-Pierrotin revealed that the ANJ will primarily aim to assist operators in their ownership of the “new and complex legal framework.”

The regulator will supply two new framework documents to assist operators in this mission. The first will cover gambling addiction and protection of minors, while the second will provide a framework on the fight against fraud, money laundering, and the financing of terrorism.

The ANJ will also look to open up a dialogue with other European regulators on a number of issues, including esports and the fight against illegal gambling.

Background to the transition

In 2018, the French National Assembly approved the sale of En Marche’s holdings in Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) on the prerequisite that a new gambling regulatory framework would be established in the country. The FDJ is France’s state-owned lottery and gambling operator.

The FDJ’s privatization will form part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche government’s modernisation of French enterprise, which would allow it to divest interests in a number of state-owned assets.

The transition from ARJEL to ANJ was first proposed in October 2019. The aim was to extend the regulatory scope of the ANJ and enhance its powers to cope with France’s evolving gaming market. The formation of the ANJ was finally approved in March 2020.

The ANJ is not an enlarged ARJEL”

“The ANJ is not an enlarged ARJEL, it is a new project that requires rethinking regulation. It has to adapt its intervention to monopolies (FDJ and PMU) and to players gambling mostly anonymously in points of sale,” Falque-Pierrotin explained.

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