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French Regulator’s Alert: Crackdown on Illegal Online Casinos Masquerading on Facebook

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Rising Alarm: French Regulator Tackles Illegal Online Casinos on Facebook

The Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), France’s gambling watchdog, has issued an urgent warning to consumers about deceptive practices by illegal online casinos. These illicit operators cunningly exploit the brand images of licensed groups like Barrière and JOA, using Facebook as their platform for misleading promotions. The ANJ diligently monitors Facebook to identify such malpractices, collaborating with the social media titan to combat this issue.

Approximately 400 website URLs linked to these illicit operations have been reported to Meta, Facebook’s parent company. This decisive action has resulted in the shutdown of 137 Facebook accounts, significantly disrupting the operations of these illegal entities. The scheme typically involves creating counterfeit promotional content that mimics legitimate brands, luring unsuspecting players to unlicensed websites with no affiliation to the actual licensees.

Understanding the Legal Framework and Risks in French Online Gambling

Despite the burgeoning online betting landscape, online casino gaming remains strictly prohibited in France. Legally sanctioned activities include internet sports wagering, horse racing betting through authorized operators, and licensed land-based casinos. The ANJ emphasizes the significant risks associated with gambling on unlicensed sites, such as non-payment of winnings, payment fraud, data theft, and a lack of legal recourse in disputes.

The regulator advises players to consult the ANJ-approved list of gambling sites and to refer to the blacklist of administratively blocked websites. The ANJ also encourages the public to report any suspicious or fraudulent advertisements they encounter.

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The Shadow Economy: Estimating France’s Illegal Gambling Market

The urgency of the ANJ’s warnings is underscored by a recent study estimating that France’s illegal gambling market could be valued as high as €1.50 billion annually. This shadow economy potentially represents over 10% of the country’s total annual gambling expenditure. A comprehensive study conducted by PwC identified 510 illegal websites generating significant traffic, with just 21 websites accounting for 60% of this illegal gambling traffic.

The PwC analysis estimates that the gross gaming revenue from illegal gambling ranges between €748 million to €1.5 billion, constituting 5% to 11% of the total gambling market. This significant segment of the gambling economy, operating outside the bounds of regulation, poses a severe threat to consumer safety and the integrity of the legal gambling industry in France.

By elevating its efforts against illegal online casinos, particularly on social media platforms like Facebook, the ANJ is taking a proactive stance to protect consumers and uphold the integrity of France’s gambling ecosystem. These vigilant measures are crucial in a digital age where the lines between legitimate and illicit gambling operations can be increasingly blurred.

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Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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