Advertising and gambling: the ANJ launches a broad public consultation of different stakeholders

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During the UEFA European Football Championship, some abuses had been noted concerning advertising pressure from sports betting operators. These abuses are likely to call the regulatory model implemented for 10 years into question. That is the reason why the ANJ launches a broad public consultation on gambling operators’ practices in terms of advertising.

Gambling operators’ advertising practices questioned during the European Football Championship

In France, the online gambling market is strictly regulated because gambling is not like any other product; it carries important risks of abuse (over-indebtedness), or of public health (addiction and isolation) for the player and those around him. That is the reason why gambling needs to stay a recreational and measured activity. Though, the advertising pressure that has been observed during the European Football Championship, the targeting of young audiences, as well as messages that maintain the illusion of easy money are particularly problematic.

According to a Harris Interactive study* conducted during the European Football Championship for the ANJ, more than half of the people who had seen sports betting’s ads feels that they are too numerous, and close to eight French people out of ten who had seen these ads consider that they can contain a risk of addiction.

Faced with the same situation, some European States have already taken measures in order to limit the quantity of advertising or to provide a stricter framework of its content.

The public consultation process

It is in this context that the ANJ has decided to organise a broad public consultation on the advertising practices of gambling operators (in particular for sports betting). This consultation, which will take place in September and October, has the following objectives:

  • To produce a situational analysis on how gambling ads are perceived by different actors and the risks associated with them;
  • To evaluate the ANJ advertising regulation tools and, where required, to imagine additional avenues that would enable the ANJ to better ensure compliance with the principle of recreational gambling that underpins the French model, particularly with regard to young audiences and vulnerable populations.

General public sequences

  • An online questionnaire is available on the ANJ website from 20 September for a period of one month. It allows to all those who wish to provide a feedback of their impressions and suggestions;
  • Two citizen dialogue workshops will be organised at a local level to try to assess the social acceptability of advertising and to reflect on possible recommendations.
  • A debate focused on the issue of young people targeting.

Sequences with professional stakeholders

  • A call for contributions from professional stakeholders (gambling operators, health professionals, competent public authorities, care associations, etc.);
  • A debate at a local level allowing to cross the point of views of different communities concerned by the subject (gambling operators, addiction professionals, academics, educational community, etc.);
  • A workshop co-organised by the ANJ and the ARPP (Professional Advertising Regulation Authority) gathering gambling operators and advertising stakeholders.

The various contributions obtained during this consultation and the synthesis that the ANJ will make of them will enable it to build common diagnoses, then to formalise guidelines relating to gambling advertising and, where required, to propose by the end of the year new measures to public authorities likely to enforce the recreational gambling model.

For Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, ANJ Chairwoman: “In order to question the permanence of a consensus around the French gambling model and the evolutions that could possibly be made in terms of advertising, the ANJ has chosen to favour the path of a consultation open to all publics. Indeed, gambling advertising concerns us all: players, non-players, parents, educators, operators, etc. Everyone will be able to express their views on the acceptable balance to find between gambling advertising and the maintenance of a recreational gambling. It will then be up to the regulator to make balanced and effective recommendations, based on a social pact shared by all“.

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