EGBA Urges France to Lift Online Casino Ban
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has raised serious concerns regarding a recent study commissioned by France’s national gambling authority, l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux, revealing the alarming size of the country’s black market for online gambling. The study, conducted by PwC, estimates the black market’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) to be a staggering €1.5 billion annually, nearly half of France’s regulated online gambling revenue.
The Black Market Landscape in France:
Online Casino Ban and Its Consequences:
France, despite being a significant player in the European gambling market, is one of only two EU countries enforcing a ban on online casino games. This prohibition has inadvertently given rise to a substantial black market, fraught with risks and lacking regulatory oversight. EGBA contends that the ban on online casino games is a critical factor contributing to the proliferation of the black market.
Key Findings of the Study:
Scope and Impact:
PwC’s study indicates that websites offering online casino games, including slots, contribute to 50% of the black market’s website traffic. Shockingly, around 3 million French players engage with these black market platforms at least once a month. Even more concerning is the revelation that high-risk players account for a significant 79% of the GGR generated in this illicit sector.
The Human Cost:
The study underscores the vulnerability of French players who patronize black market websites, emphasizing the absence of legal recourse and minimum safeguards, such as self-exclusion. EGBA is particularly alarmed at the risk these players face due to the lack of safer gambling protections on unregulated platforms.
EGBA's Call to Action:
Reassessing the Ban:
In response to the study’s findings, EGBA is urging French authorities to reevaluate the existing ban on online casino games. Drawing a parallel with the regulation of online sports betting, EGBA recommends establishing a safe and regulated environment for online casino players through a multi-licensing model.
Multi-Licensing Model: A Viable Solution:
Effectiveness in Reducing Black Markets:
EGBA proposes a regulatory framework based on a multi-licensing model, allowing several operators to obtain business-to-customer licenses. This approach has demonstrated effectiveness in reducing black markets in online gambling, providing a competitive and regulated alternative to illicit platforms.
Interview with Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of EGBA:
Addressing the Issue Head-On:
Maarten Haijer emphasizes the urgency of revisiting the ban, stating, “The scale of France’s online black market is alarming, and we believe it is one of the EU’s largest online gambling black markets, alongside Germany and Italy. The country’s prohibition of online casino is clearly a big part of the problem.”
Benefits of Regulation:
Haijer contends that by regulating online casino games through a multi-licensing model, France can better protect consumers, regain control over its online gambling market, and secure vital tax revenues. He stresses that the most effective way to tackle a black market is to establish a competitive regulated market alternative.
As the EGBA shines a spotlight on the substantial black market in France, the call to action becomes more urgent. Reevaluating the ban on online casino games is not only a strategic move to protect consumers but also a vital step towards reclaiming control over the lucrative online gambling market.
Why does France have a ban on online casino games?
The ban on online casino games in France is a regulatory measure aimed at controlling the gambling industry. However, it has inadvertently led to the growth of a significant black market.
What risks do French players face on black market websites?
Players engaging with black market websites lack legal recourse and essential safeguards, exposing them to potential harm, including the absence of self-exclusion options.
How many French players use black market websites monthly?
According to the PwC study, approximately 3 million French players engage with black market websites at least once a month.
Why does EGBA advocate for a multi-licensing model?
EGBA supports a multi-licensing model as it has proven to be effective in reducing black markets in online gambling, providing a regulated and competitive alternative.
What percentage of GGR do high-risk players contribute in the black market?
The study reveals that high-risk players account for a substantial 79% of the gross gaming revenue generated in the black market.
How does the ban on online casino games impact tax revenues in France?
EGBA argues that by regulating online casino games, France can secure vital tax revenues that are currently lost to the black market.
Are there any existing regulations for online sports betting in France?
Yes, France has existing regulations for online sports betting, and EGBA suggests applying a similar regulatory framework to online casino games.
How does the lack of safer gambling protections affect French players?
The absence of safer gambling protections on black market websites puts French players at risk, as they have no mechanisms like self-exclusion to protect themselves.
What is the significance of a competitive regulated market alternative?
Establishing a competitive regulated market alternative is seen as the most effective way to combat black markets, offering players a safer and legal option.
What steps can the French authorities take to address the black market issue?
EGBA recommends reassessing the ban on online casino games and implementing a regulatory framework based on a multi-licensing model to create a safer gambling environment.