French gambling regulator L’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) broke its practice of not mentioning particular operators after publicly naming Stake.com and cbett.gg for the danger they pose to the public.
Singling Out Brands for the First Time
The national gambling watchdog issued blocking orders for both gambling domains and ordered French internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to these websites, following approval of the blocking orders from the Paris Court of Justice.
“The ANJ wishes to draw the public’s attention to the dangerousness of these illegal sites which record particularly high audiences. This is the reason why we have decided, for the first time, to give an echo to these judgments.”
The regulator cited data from internet monitor services Similarweb, which showed both gambling domains received more than 560,000 visitors in June after both gambling operators aggressively targeted the public with promotions of illegal games of chance as is the legal status of online casino games in the country.
The regulator singled out cbet.gg which attempted to circumvent an initial IP ban by using mirror websites to promote its gambling products under different URLs. The ban was imposed after a decision of the Paris Court of Justice in May.
ANJ also accused Stake.com of promoting the use of unauthorized payment and wagering methods such as cryptocurrencies, offering players to deposit and play with Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Etherium.
Operators Crossed the Line
The enforcement actions followed a warning issued by the gambling regulator last week related to the betting practices adopted by the incumbents during the days of Euro 2020 soccer championship.
ANJ stated that the operators were way too aggressive with their advertising campaigns and the number of gambling ads was too high. The regulator was also unhappy that the advertisements were targeting mainly young people, urging them to bet on the games, and it was not the first time vulnerable groups have been targeted.
Clearly stating the operators failed to meet their obligations to the public, ANJ asked the incumbents to implement control measures and keep the number of their ads in check by conducting mid-term reviews, and in case they do not comply, sanctions will follow.
Lastly, the gambling watchdog expressed concerns that the current regulatory model may be insufficient to deal with events like the Euro 2020 and maybe considering implementing changes to address these insufficiencies and bring back advertising volumes within tolerable levels.
ANJ announced as part of an action plan that it would be hosting a seminar on problem gambling in September, seeking the opinion of experts in the field to determine what constitutes excessive gambling.