French Regulator Gains Power to Block All Unlicensed Gaming Sites

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French regulator L’Autorité nationale des Jeux (ANJ) has been granted the power to block any unlicensed gambling website from operating in France, regardless of whether they advertise to French customers.

The “Law for the democratisations of sport in France” signed into law last week implements several measures on access to sport and to tackle match-fixing. However, it also grants the ANJ new powers to take action against unlicensed gambling.

Those new powers put the ANJ in a comparable position to the Dutch gambling regulator KSA, which is also able to block all unlicensed sites. Sweden has proposed a similar move.

The legislation reads: “The president of ANJ may address to any person whose online gambling offer is accessible on French territory a formal notice to cease this activity.”

The formal notice will invite the operator in question to respond with observations within five days. After that deadlines passes with no action being taken, the ANJ may order internet service providers and search engines to “take any measure intended to prevent access”.

The ANJ has already blocked some 250 unlicensed gambling sites. It said the new powers would help it in its goal to reduce unlicensed gambling this year.

It said: “This legislative development is a major step forward in the fight against the illegal offer of gambling in France, which the ANJ has made a priority project for 2022.

“It supports the new cooperation strategy that we have been developing for several months, with all digital players (search engines, social networks, content exchange platforms, payment solution providers) to hold them accountable and stem the proliferation of illegal offerings.”

Under the new legislation, the ANJ must also collect and analyse reports of suspicious betting on French-licensed websites, something it already does.

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