Trade Body Urges France to Rethink Online Casino Ban, Citing “Alarming” Black Market

  • EGBA’s Maarten Haijer urges regulation after report reveals 3 million use illegal sites
  • EGBA believes France should adopt a multi-licensed online casino market
  • PwC pegs France’s illegal gambling GGR in the region of €748m to €1.5bn
Woman in red beret playing game on phone
The EGBA has urged France to urgently review its ban on online casinos, citing the “alarming” level of black market play. [Image:]

EGBA calls for urgent review

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has urged French lawmakers to reassess the country’s ban on online casinos.

scale of France’s online black market is alarming”

Tuesday’s call came after a recent study revealed around three million nationals use black market websites once a month at minimum. iGaming industry media firm cited EGBA Secretary General Maarten Haijer as stating the “scale of France’s online black market is alarming.”

Haijer’s comments are based on the December study commissioned by French regulator l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ). The EGBA executive said the results of the study proved France ranked alongside Italy and Germany as having one of the European Union’s biggest online gambling black markets.

Haijer apportioned most blame to France’s ban on online casino games, stating it was “clearly a big part of the problem.”

Legalize it

The trade body suggested the best way to combat the offshore market was to “establish a competitive market alternative.”

EGBA believes France should form a legal online casino market in line with an international multi-licensed one, with operators applying for business-to-consumer licenses.

no legal recourse nor minimum protections, such as self-exclusion”

The French ban on online casinos also increases the risk of gamblers being exposed to unsafe and potentially unethical operators. EGBA added that the gambling sites “operate outside of French laws and many of them threaten the safety of French players who have no legal recourse nor minimum protections, such as self-exclusion” when using the sites.

Haijer stated that because of the popularity of offshore casino, lawmakers should “urgently reassess” the ban for the sake of player safety.

ANJ’s study conducted by PwC also found high-risk gamblers account for 79% of the Gross Gambling Revenue generated via playing on the black market.

Big money

PwC’s study revealed France’s illegal gambling market’s GGR is worth in the region of €748m ($806m) and €1.5bn ($1.6bn).

Haijer said that not only would a regulated, multi-license market better protect online casino players, it would also help France secure “vital tax revenues.” He added: “the time to act is now.”

France is one of Europe’s strictest gambling regulators, evidenced by its law in June to regulate influencer marketing on social media. Influencers found creating paid content for online sports or crypto gambling sites now face a fine of €‎300,000 ($323,000) and up to two years in jail.

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