The Games Mediator Publishes Its 2023 Activity Report

May 17, 2024 | Gambling

In 2023, the gaming mediator received 1,523 requests which overwhelmingly relate to difficulties encountered by sports betting players concerning disputes relating to the result or cancellation of bets or the management of their accounts (blocking, closure, difficulty withdrawal of funds, etc.). The mediator makes recommendations to operators so that they change some of their practices in order to improve the information and protection of players.

Games mediation 

Gambling mediation aims to promote the amicable settlement of disputes that may arise between players and gaming or betting operators approved by the ANJ or holders of exclusive rights (Française des jeux and PMU).

The games mediator, Denys Millet, honorary magistrate, is responsible for bringing together points of view to pave the way for an amicable solution. 

Before contacting the mediator from  the mediateurdesjeux site ,  people must first contact the operator in writing . Depending on the response obtained or in the absence of a response from the operator within 20 days, players can then contact the mediator. At any time, the parties may withdraw from the mediation process. The mediator’s proposal has no binding effect, each party being free to accept or refuse the solution adopted by the mediator. Finally, participation in mediation does not exclude the possibility of recourse to a court.

The main figures 

  • 1523 requests received in 2023, an increase of 11% compared to 2022. 
  • Sports betting represents the vast majority of mediation requests (91%)
  • 752 requests declared inadmissible. The absence of a prior written complaint to the operators constitutes the main reason for inadmissibility (89%)
  • 754 files processed 
  • The average processing time is 31 days. This average processing time is well below the maximum time of 90 days set by the Consumer Code.
  • About a third of requests receive partial or total satisfaction.

The mediator’s recommendations

In his 2023 report, the mediator addresses four recommendations to operators:

1.Proceed to reimburse the player account balance in the event of account closure due to suspected fraud

The mediator considers that suspicions about the authenticity of the documents produced by the player (proof of address, identity document and banking documents) can legitimize an account closure as a measure to prevent a possible risk of fraud.

On the other hand, the operator cannot, on its own authority, confiscate a player’s initial deposit and, except in the case of a denunciation made to TRACFIN, the operator must reimburse the player the amount of his deposit. initial.

  • The mediator invites operators when they close a player’s account to justify their decision with precise factual elements and to reimburse the account balance to the player, unless they justify what the bets have been placed illegally.

2. Delete certain clauses of the CGU (general conditions of use) and gaming regulations of the operators

The T&Cs provide that the operator can cancel bets in the event of taking successive bets on the same selection within a short period of time (placing 6 bets with the same title within an interval of 7 minutes). The provision prohibiting this practice appears lawful.

On the other hand, the legality of this provision is debated since the operator could, at its discretion, cancel or not these bets depending on their losing or winning nature. 

  • The mediator therefore recommends that operators be vigilant and immediately remove restrictive clauses from their gaming regulations.

3. Inform players in the event of closure of the player account due to inactivity 

Operators are required to close a player account when its holder has not carried out a gaming transaction in the last twelve months. These closures are generally accompanied by fees.

  • In order to avoid referral to the mediator, it would be desirable that at the end of a period of 11 months, the operators inform the player of the upcoming closure of his account due to his inactivity. This measure would also allow players to remember that they have an account and thus carry out the necessary actions: replay or close their account free of charge.

4. Take Steps to Prevent Excessive Gambling 

If the number of referrals relating to addiction issues remains low compared to the number of excessive gamblers, the mediator notes an increase in requests relating to: 

  • Challenges to account closure decisions by players who consider themselves not to be excessive gamblers;

  • Or conversely, calls into question the liability of the operator for having failed to fulfill its prevention obligations. 

In these cases, the mediator carries out a detailed analysis of the factual elements emerging from the documents produced by both parties in order to assess whether the operator has identified the loss of control of the player and whether he has taken the accompanying measures. graduated and adapted to the player’s situation.

  • The account suspension measure, which operators currently delay or even dismiss almost systematically, should, according to the mediator, intervene as soon as the player does not react to prevention messages, evades any attempt to make contact or even modifies his gaming behavior by increasing his deposits and stakes, reflecting a clear loss of control, exposing him to significant losses.

Such a measure would make it possible to initiate an exchange with the player to better support them, as recommended by the ANJ guide on the identification and support of excessive or pathological gamblers. 

The synergy between mediation and the actions of the ANJ 

This year again, the missions of the mediator and those of the ANJ complement and respond to each other to better inform and protect players, and more particularly players at risk. The ANJ is indeed committed to following up on certain recommendations made by the mediator, which also echo the requests from the players that it receives directly. Several recent actions by the ANJ illustrate this virtuous cycle: the global review of the general conditions of use carried out, the  complete rewriting of the list of authorized betting media (“sport list”), the intensification of its control policy, the definition of its new strategic plan which places the drastic reduction in the share of excessive gamblers as a priority objective, etc.

Read the report

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

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