The ANJ Publishes a Study to Measure the Illegal Offer Available in France and Better Understand Consumption Practices

December 5, 2023 | illegal gambling

To fight more effectively against the offer of illegal online gambling and games of chance, the ANJ commissioned a study from the company PwC on the offer available in France and consumption habits. This study estimates that the gross gaming product (GRP) generated by the illegal offer would be between €748 million and €1.5 billion, or between 5 and 11% of the overall gambling market. The importance and risks linked to this illegal offer justify that it be fought even more vigorously, through actions complementary to those already currently carried out by the ANJ.

PARIS, France (December 1, 2023) — As part of its strategy to combat the illegal offer of online gambling and games of chance, the ANJ asked the company Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) to carry out a study to determine the characteristics of this offer and practices in France. PwC had already carried out a similar study in the United Kingdom in 2021.

More precisely, this study aimed in particular:

  • To measure, over the period from January to March 2023, via a quantitative analysis, the illegal offer of online gambling and games of chance accessible on French territory (illegal websites and mobile applications);

  • To better understand consumption  relating to this illegal offer, through a qualitative study carried out on a web panel of more than 11,000 people [i] .

The illegal offer considered in the study is the one which presents the following three characteristics:

✓ A gambling offer made to the public combining financial sacrifice, hope of winning and some chance;

✓A game offer accessible on French territory, via an internet connection giving a French IP (without use of VPN or a proxy);

✓A lack of authorization granted to the operator of the site or mobile application to offer its gambling games online.

In France, only the 18 operators  approved by the ANJ and the FDJ company legally offer online gambling games.

An illegal offer dominated by online casino games and slot machines and fueled by the most vulnerable players

  • The gross gaming product (GRP) generated by the illegal offer of online gambling in France is estimated to be  between €748 million and €1.5 billion , or between 5 and 11% of the overall gambling market. As a reminder, the overall legal gambling market in France represented nearly €13 billion in 2022, including €2.96 billion for online games (sports and horse racing betting and poker).

  • 50% of internet traffic in the illegal online gambling offering is thought to be generated by online casino games (such as roulette, dice games, craps, blackjack and baccarat) and slot machines. below .

  • The study carried out from January to March 2023 made it possible to identify 510 illegal websites  which generate traffic on French soil. 21 of them alone supply 60% of illegal gambling traffic.
  • 50% of illegal offer websites whose operator could be identified belong to companies registered in Curaçao.
  • 79% of the GRP generated by the market for the illegal offer of online gambling and games of chance comes from players engaged in risky gambling .

Typical profile of the player on the illegal offer

  • Around 3 million people would have consumed the illegal supply at least once a month in 2023.

  • 1 in 2 consumers of illegal offers say they are unaware of the illegal nature of the offer they are playing on.

  • Consumers of illegal offers favor online casino games other than slot machines  (54%).

  • The main motivations for illegal offer consumers to play on these unauthorized gambling sites are: the absence of betting limits or identity verification, the expectation of greater winnings as well as more great wealth of games on offer.

  • Consumers of illegal offers mainly indicate having become aware of these sites through:  online searches on search engines (19%), online advertising ( 18%) and social networks  (18%).

  • 35% of illegal offer consumers would use a VPN to play on it .

A necessary diversification of actions against illegal supply

Since March 2022, the ANJ has had the power to administratively block and delist illegal sites. Administrative blocking orders are now faster and less expensive. Since this date, 300 administrative blocking acts relating to 1,230 blocked URLs have been issued by the ANJ . Thus, in a year and a half, thanks to the introduction of this procedure, the ANJ managed to block almost as many URLs as in 12 years of judicial blocking procedure .

If, as it stands, the law does not provide it with any other specific means of action to combat this illegal offer, the ANJ intends to quickly take various actions, namely  :

  • Make targeted reports to the judicial authority so that criminal proceedings can be initiated against people who, registered in Curaçao or Cyprus, operate these sites acting today with complete impunity and which the ANJ itself cannot sanction;

  • Take warning actions against publishers of illegal gaming software and companies that provide hosting solutions for illegal sites;

  • Act with payment service providers who make financial flows between illegal operators and players possible;

  • Deepen the exchange of information and best practices with its European counterparts within the framework of the GREF ( Gambling Regulators’ European Forum );

  • Strengthen public information on the dangers of illegal supply.

Reminder of the risks linked to illegal offers

Playing on an illegal site carries multiple risks for the player because:

  • The winnings are rarely paid  : no legal action is taken against the illegal operator;
  • Minors are not protected  : there is no majority control of the player most of the time;
  • Legal measures to protect players are absent  : self-limitation of stakes, deposits and playing time, voluntary ban and self-exclusion from gambling, identification and support in the event of excessive or pathological gambling;
  • Risks of identity theft and theft of bank details;
  • Risks of fueling money laundering and terrorist financing.

Consult the blacklist of sites that have been administratively blocked by the ANJ

Report illegal sites to the ANJ

[i] Methodological precision  : The conclusions of this study must be assessed subject to the biases which may affect it. A risk of over-representation of online gambling players may result from the use of a web panel of respondents. It is also important to emphasize the purely declarative nature of the responses.

Summary and full report

SOURCE: l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ).

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