Illegal gambling continues to be a problem in France, with the offshore online gambling sector proving the most difficult to tackle just yet, despite the regulated regime of local operators. Lack of proper channelization has been an issue discussed in both Germany and Sweden, and it is now a problem that has surfaced in France as well.
A new study by Pricewaterhouse Coopers commissioned by the Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) has indicated that illegal online gambling remains an ongoing thorn for the regulator which has been focusing on channelling consumers into the regulated gambling market.
The report has sought to better understand the number and operations of such illegal gambling sites that continue to target French citizens on French territory, and it also wants to better understand why consumers actually seek out such gambling websites.
The data reveals that online casinos remain the most popular types of gambling options in the offshore online casino sector, which puts at risk those who are most vulnerable to falling victim to problem gambling and gambling addiction. According to the survey, around €748m and €1.5bn are being spent on illegal gambling.
"The scale and risks associated with illegal gambling justify even more vigorous measures to combat it, in addition to those already being taken by the ANJ," the ANJ said in a statement.
To put things in perspective, the entire gambling market in France is worth €13bn, out of which €2.96bn is the size of the online gambling market, which includes sports betting, horse racing and poker.
According to the survey, 50% of Internet traffic goes to illegal online gambling sites that offer casino games of chance, such as craps, blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and slots. The survey was also able to identify 510 illegal gambling sites that are targeting online casinos in the country, out of which 21% are accounting for 60% of the traffic.
The majority of such casinos are operating under a Curacao license, and 79% of the revenue is generated from risky gambling practices. Pricewaterhouse Cooper went even further, creating a profile for the people who actually turn to the illegal gambling sector, with an estimated 3m participants from the country alone.
About half of all consumers say they ignore the illegal status of the gambling site, and players seem to like online slots best. According to the survey, 35% of all participants in illegal gambling are even usingVPN to ensure that they garner access to illegal online gambling sites.
The ANJ has not sat idly by as the regulator is now able to collaborate with courts more quickly and issue blocking orders. Some 1,230 websites have been blocked since 2022, but there seems to be more that need to be targeted and removed from the market.
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