The third annual report on the activities of France’s gambling ombudsman, released by the French gambling regulator L’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), discloses that ombudsman Denys Millet handled 1,373 mediation requests in 2022. This figure represents a decrease of 20.8 percent compared to the previous year, 2021.
The report reveals that out of the total requests received, 744 were considered admissible, while 629 were deemed inadmissible. Notably, the percentage of complaints involving Winamax decreased from 39 percent in 2021 to 20 percent, primarily due to fewer repeat complaints and disputes related to welcome offers.
Breakdown of Requests by Game Type
Similar to the previous year, the majority of mediation requests (90.1 percent) pertained to sports betting. Lottery games accounted for 5 percent of the requests, followed by casino games and horse racing at 5 percent and 1 percent, respectively. Among sports betting disputes, Winamax was involved in 20 percent of cases, followed by Betclic (17 percent), SPS Betting France (14 percent), FDJ (14 percent), and PMU (11 percent).
Recommendations for Gambling Operators
Ombudsman Denys Millet provided four recommendations aimed at reducing the number of complaints. First, operators were advised to provide a reason when blocking player accounts. Second, they were urged to expedite withdrawal requests. Third, leniency was recommended for accounts with unintentional data mismatches, suggesting a review of the situation rather than immediate account closure. Lastly, operators were encouraged to ensure transparency in implementing deposit limits for player protection.
Positive Impact and Assessment of Ombudsman Role
ANJ’s president, Isabelle Falque Pierrotin, expressed satisfaction with the positive outcomes resulting from the regulator’s collaboration with the ombudsman. Both entities, operating for three years now, have been able to critically assess their activities and mutual relations. Falque Pierrotin highlighted the progress made in improving player protection through the joint efforts of the gambling mediator and ANJ.
New Guidelines on Gambling Advertising
In a separate development, the ANJ recently published new guidelines concerning gambling advertising. These recommendations include a ban on using active athletes and referees in gambling campaigns and partnerships. Additionally, commercial activities connected with gambling operators must exclude minors. Active athletes are prohibited from making predictions about competition outcomes or actively promoting odds on matches within their discipline. While these guidelines are not legally enforceable, the ANJ stated its intention to propose legislative and regulatory changes if operators and clubs fail to comply, citing upcoming all-out gambling ad bans in the Netherlands and Belgium.