France To Launch New Gambling Authority Ahead Of FDJ Sale

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France introduced new laws on gambling, including the establishment of a new national gambling authority, L’autorité nationale des jeux (ANJ) to replace the current regulator, l’autorité nationale de régulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL), ahead of the sale of the La Française des Jeux (FDJ) lottery monopoly.

For the moment ARJEL controls online gambling in France, while the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Economy and Finance regulate casinos, horse racing in Paris and lottery games. ANJ will serve as a single body for regulating gambling in the country under the new regulations.

“The National Gambling Authority (ANJ) will become the main player in the regulation of gambling in France,” the country’s Council of Ministers said. “This new independent administrative authority will be endowed with reinforced powers, over a broad scope of competences.

“In the competitive online sports betting sector, the ANJ will take over the mission of issuing the licenses to online gambling or betting operators, now exercised by ARJEL. It will see its powers of supervision strengthened: the authority will indeed be able to prescribe to an operator the withdrawal of any commercial communication inciting to play excessively.

“On the casino sector: the skills of the ANJ will focus on the fight against excessive gambling. The regulation of this activity for its other aspects, however, will continue to be the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior, because of its specificities.”

FDJ is primarily owned and operated by the French government, but in an initial public offering later this year, its shares will be sold to institutional and private investors. The Council of Ministers, however, said that the state would continue to have some degree of influence over the business.

The council said that the state will remain in the company through a government commissioner present on the board together with the directors representing the state, with the power to “oppose the problematic decisions of the company,” through giving a notice of state approval to the members, which can be removed at any time if the state no longer supports the FDJ, and by having the power to block it.