The official gambling regulator of France, l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), has revealed that the illegal gambling market in the country is potentially worth a staggering $1.62 billion (€1.5bn /£1.28bn), which in other words accounts more than 10% of the total bets in the country wagered across a full year.
The report published by the l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), has highlighted 510 illegal gambling operators that generate traffic. Out of these 510 websites, 21 are said to generate more than 60% of the total illegal traffic.
Moreover, the report estimates that the GGR (gross gaming revenue) from illegal gambling amounts to between €748 million and €1.5 billion, making up between 5% and 11% of France’s total gambling revenue of €12.9 billion in 2022, which is a record, and 20% increase from 2021.
Out of this number, €2.17 billion are from online gambling, out of which €1.38 billion is from online sports betting, €442 million from online poker, and €346 million is from online horse racing.
The most concerning part of the report is that 79% of France’s GGR from illegal gambling comes from high-risk gamblers. The ANJ states this occurs due to the lack of identity checks and wagering limits, as well as to the wide range of casino games and expectations of big wins promised by these illegal operators.
Furthermore, the report shows that the biggest culprit for more than 50% of the entire illegal gambling traffic is attributed to online slots and casino games, with half of these illegal gambling operators being websites that operate with a Curacao license.
At the moment of writing, there are 18 operators that authorized by the ANJ and the FDJ to legally offer gambling services. The ANJ reported that they blocked over 300 illegal gambling websites in 2022 alone, stating that illegal operators don’t take measures to protect minors and are known for not paying out winnings.
France’s ANJ is set to battle these illegal operators, and one of the first measures against these websites will be filing a report against sites that operate with Curacao and Cyprus licenses, being that the ANJ states that it is impossible to punish these businesses at the moment.
In addition, ANJ also plans to take action and warn both software providers and hosting providers, as well as take action against payment providers that enable the transactions between the players and the illegal gambling operators.
The last step toward battling the illegal gambling market by the ANJ would be raising awareness of the perils of illegal gambling. This is paired with the exchange of practices and information with other European countries via the GREF.