Who: French Government and National Gambling Authority
Where: France
When: Ordinance adopted on 2 October 2019 and in force from 1 January 2020
Law stated as at: 24 January 2020

What happened:

France has reformed its gambling legislation by adopting Ordinance No. 2019-1015 on 2 October 2019, which entered into force on 1 January 2020. The Ordinance has consolidated the applicable provisions in the French Homeland Security Code (HSC) together, reinforces some existing rules, provides some new provisions, and enhances some sanctions.

In summary:

  • Generally, gambling activities are prohibited saved for selected authorised operators (which includes casinos and online licensed operators).
  • Minors are prohibited from gambling, except for participating in promotional sweepstakes (which are defined in the French Consumer Code as a promotion that awards a prize or other advantage by a draw or other random selection).
  • New and enhanced sanctions include new penalties for non-compliance with the rules. For example, it is now prohibited to send commercial communications to persons banned from gambling and such activity attracts a fine of €50,000; and failure to include mandatory warning messages and advertising that targets minors or school areas is now subject to a fine of €500,000 or four times the amount spent on advertising.
  • A new regulatory authority has been created, the National Gambling Authority (ANJ or Autorité Nationale des Jeux), which has been given broader powers for regulation of all gambling and sports betting activities. Based on these new powers, the ANJ may order an operator to withdraw commercial communications that are not compliant with rules applicable to gambling advertising.
  • The ordinance privatized Française des Jeux, the French operator of the national lottery games and sport betting services, which will keep its monopoly on most of its current activities.

Why this matters:

Operators should bear the new set of rules in mind. In particular, requirements regarding advertising are sanctioned with high criminal fines and must be taken into account carefully when planning and executing advertising campaigns. Advertisers should monitor the future decisions of the new ANJ on advertising in the next months, in order to better understand how enforcement may be carried out.

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