Sports Partnerships and Gambling: the ANJ Presents Guidelines and Recommendations

June 29, 2023 | Sponsorship

The sports partnership of legal gambling operators in France has increased by 20%, from 34 million euros in 2022 to 40.7 million expected in 2023. To this amount were added, in 2022, 15 million euros in sports partnerships with operators not authorized in France (online casino sites in particular) for punters located in Africa and Asia. However, all of these partnerships represent only a small part (less than 2%) of the total amount of sports partnership contracts by the private sector in France, estimated at nearly 2.5 billion euros per year [ 1] .

Several trends are observed within these partnerships:

  • The increasingly frequent use of the image of athletes to promote gambling;
  • The proliferation of commercial communications in sports venues on various media without being accompanied by mandatory warning messages;
  • The appearance, on several sites of sports organizations, of redirection links directly inviting to bet and referring to the sites of sports betting operators;
  • The development of partnerships with amateur sports teams;
  • The use of naming ( naming ) of sports infrastructure (eg stadium, gymnasium, velodrome) and competitions by a gambling operator, which establishes a direct link between sport and sports betting;
  • The conclusion of partnership contracts with illegal gambling operators in France.

This association between sport and gambling is likely to trivialize and make the practice of these games attractive and therefore to stimulate their consumption as well as to promote excessive or pathological gambling and gambling by minors. These elements of risk have been highlighted by several recent scientific studies [2] , and imply reinforced regulation of the commercial practice of partnership .

Several European countries have chosen to prohibit sports partnerships with gambling operators. This is the case of Spain, Italy and Switzerland which should soon be joined by Belgium and the Netherlands. The United Kingdom, for its part, plans to limit these partnership contracts, in particular by prohibiting the affixing of the brand of a gambling operator on shirts.

It is in this context that the ANJ set up a dedicated working group in July 2022 in conjunction with the Ministry responsible for sports, then in collaboration with the General Directorate of Health (DGS) and the Interministerial Mission for the Fight against drugs and addictive behavior (MILDECA). This reflection is part of its more global action plan relating to commercial communications which materialized in 2022 with various decisions relating to the content or volume of advertisements. The ANJ then recalled that partnership contracts are governed by the rules applicable to commercial communications .

Today, the ANJ presents guidelines which express the reading that the ANJ makes of the positive law applicable in the matter and recommendations , non-prescriptive, corresponding to good practices. They include three parts devoted to: the protection of minors, the prevention of excessive or pathological gambling and the fight against illegal operators.

The protection of minors


  • Prohibit the association of an athlete who belongs to the universe of minors with commercial communication in favor of a gambling operator if the exploitation of his image is carried out individually or with other athletes. ‘it is put forward in relation to the latter . To monitor compliance with this ban, the ANJ will rely on a range of indices, including in particular the opinion expressed by minors during surveys relating to their favorite personalities (top 10) as well as the measurement of the audience of these personalities among minors on social networks (when this exceeds 16% in the 13-17 age group of the audience of one or more platforms).
  • Exclude from sale and free distribution derivative products bearing an operator’s brand such as stuffed animals, children’s toys, figurines, etc.
  • Exclude minors from any active participation in commercial activities implemented as part of a partnership with a gambling operator.


  • Do not affix the mark of a gambling operator on “child size” shirts (under 18);
  • Insert a pictogram “prohibited for those under 18” on the various operator communication media placed on the sides of the pitch.

Prevention of excessive or pathological gambling


  • Prohibit the representation of athletes, referees and other players in competitions in a position to bet on their sport in commercial communications;
  • Prohibit active sports players, as part of the commercial operations of gaming operators, from delivering predictions on the outcome of a competition in their discipline and actively promoting the odds on a match in their discipline;
  • Display the warning message at the bottom of the support of all advertising panels;
  • Add warning messages in commercial animations.


  • Do not offer a “bet” redirect link on websites, applications, content platforms or any other communication device used by sports organizations;
  • Do not display odds, offers of commercial rewards, or any other promotional advertisements for gambling operators on websites, applications, content platforms used by sports organizations;
  • Ensure that the brand of gambling operators only appears in a limited way in and around the premises, in particular avoiding saturation marketing techniques, immersive media or the succession or repetition of advertising messages;
  • Avoid the naming (or naming ) of sports facilities (eg stadium, gymnasium, velodrome) and competitions by a gambling operator.

The fight against illegal operators


  • Prohibit organizers of sporting events, leagues, federations, clubs, teams and athletes from concluding partnership contracts with operators of gambling and games of chance which operate illegally in France and from advertisement.


  • Invite the organizers of sporting events, leagues, federations, clubs, teams and athletes to ensure beforehand with the ANJ that the operators not approved in France with whom they wish to sign contracts for other countries, do not not appear on the list of operators whose site has been blocked by the ANJ.

Implementation monitoring

The guidelines and recommendations may, if necessary, be extended by proposals for legislative and regulatory changes that ANJ deems necessary for the achievement of the objectives of the gambling policy.

Finally, an assessment of the implementation of these guidelines and recommendations will be carried out by the ANJ in the first quarter of 2024.

[1] Sporsora figures, 2022.

[2] See in particular: Elizabeth A. KILLICK and Mark D. GRIFFITHS, Sports Betting Advertising: A Systematic Review of Content Analysis Studies, International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 2022. Samantha THOMAS, Hannah PITT, Amy BESTMAN, et al. , Child and parent recall for gambling sponsorship in Australian sports, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Victoria, 2016, vol. 1.

SOURCE: L’Autorité nationale des jeux (ANJ) (French gambling regulator).

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