ANJ, The National Gambling Authority
A regulator for a safe, upright and controlled game
The ANJ in brief
- The ANJ is an independent authority. It reports to Parliament.
- Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin was appointed President of the ANJ by decree of the French President for a six-year, non-revocable term. The Board is composed of 9 members (five women and four men).
- The ANJ regulates licensed gambling and betting games (online, at points of sale and at racecourses). It oversees the responsible gambling policy of casinos.
- The ANJ protects players: it ensures that the legal gambling offer is fair and recreational. The ANJ hunts down fraudsters: it fights against illegal websites, money laundering and participates, to the extent of its competence, in the fight against sports manipulation.
- The ANJ ensures that operators authorised to operate on the French market respect their obligations.
- The ANJ's services are made up of 53 people and the authority has a budget of 8 million euros (January 1, 2020).
- The ANJ works in close cooperation with its European and international counterparts. This is an essential strategic lever.
In 2010, the legislator gave the Regulatory Authority for Online Games (ARJEL) the status of an independent administrative authority. This status was necessary to prevent a double conflict of interest: on the one hand, the State is a shareholder of one of the operators, La Française des Jeux, and on the other, it must arbitrate between tax and public health issues. With Article 137 of the Pacte Act on the privatisation of La Française des Jeux and the Order of October 2, 2019 reforming the gambling regulation, the legislator broadened the scope of intervention of the new Gambling Authority (ANJ) by giving it the status of an independent administrative authority.
The ANJ reports to Parliament: it presents an annual activity report and its President may be heard by the competent committee of each of the two assemblies.
The Board is composed of nine members appointed for a six-year term. Their mandate may not be revoked or renewed.
The President of the Board is appointed by decree of the President of the Republic. She shall hold office on a full-time basis. She chairs the college, which meets when convened by her. She appoints the members of the Board who participate in the specialized commissions as well as their chairmen. She chooses the Chief Executive Officer.
Among the other members of the Board, two (a woman and a man) are appointed by the President of the National Assembly and by the President of the Senate. In addition, six members are appointed by decree, divided between three women and three men.
The functions of the members of the Board are not exercised on a full-time basis. It is partly renewed every two years.
The Board deliberates by a majority of the present members. The Chairman has a casting vote in the event of a tied vote.
To carry out its duties, the Board relies on three permanent consultative commissions, which are respectively responsible for the prevention of excessive or pathological gambling, the control of gambling operations and the fight against money laundering. The Board sets the conditions under which the commissions provide assistance.
The Sanction Committee
Composed of six members from the French Council of State, French High Court of Cassation and the French Court of Auditors, for a term of six years, renewable once, the Sanction Committee is called upon by the Board in sanction proceedings against an authorised operator "that has failed or is failing to comply with the legislative and regulatory obligations applicable to its activity".
It offers solutions to disputes arising in the context of a gambling operation between a consumer and an online gambling or betting operator holding an ANJ licence or an operator holding exclusive rights at points of sale.
The mediator is appointed by the Chairman of the Authority after consulting the Board for a renewable three-year term; he may not be dismissed during his term of office except for legitimate reasons (L. 613-1 and seq. of the French Consumer Code).
The National Gambling Authority provides it with sufficient resources for the independent and impartial exercise of its mandate: a dedicated website has been opened for players and a full-time person has been made available to assist it in its missions.
The mediator submits an annual report to the ANJ Board on the results of his (its?) action. This report is published on the ANJ website.
The ANJ missions are structured around four objectives :
- Prevent excessive or pathological gambling and protect minors;
- Ensure the integrity, reliability and transparency of gaming;
- Prevent fraudulent and criminal activities, as well as money laundering and financing of terrorism;
- Ensure the balanced, fair development of various types of games, in order to avoid any economic destabilisation of the sectors concerned.
The missions of the ANJ are in line with Article L. 320-3 of the Internal Security Code, which states that : "The objective of State policy on gambling and games of chance is to limit and control the offer and consumption of gambling and to control its operation in order to prevent excessive or pathological gambling and protect players ; ensure the integrity, reliability and transparency of gambling operations ; prevent criminal and fraudulent activities as well as money laundering and terrorist financing ; and ensure the balanced and equitable development of the various types of games in order to avoid any economic destabilization of the sectors concerned".
The ANJ in Europe and internationally
With the European institutions
A work in progress: the European standardisation process for reporting in support of the monitoring of online gambling services by regulatory authorities. In the development of this voluntary standard requested by the Commission, the ANJ is chairing CEN Technical Committee 456 (development of the standard).
An emblematic action: in July 2016, at the initiative of the Council of Europe, the Authority participated in the creation of the Copenhagen Group, the network of national platforms against manipulation of sports competitions provided for in Article 13 of the Magglingen Convention.
With European regulators
The ANJ's relations with its European colleagues are organised within two bodies:
- The GREF, Gaming Regulators' European Forum: 34 regulators from 31 European States meet in a forum to exchange views and information and discuss gambling policies.
- The "Regulators' Group": it brings together the French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, British, German and Austrian regulatory authorities. Regular meetings are organised around topical regulatory issues. Each member of the group welcomes delegations from the other regulatory authorities in turn.
European and international cooperation
In recent years, the Authority has focused on bilateral cooperation:
- Organisation of thematic working days for delegations of both European (e.g. the Netherlands in July 2019) and international (e.g. South Korea in December 2018 and Liberia in June 2019) regulators.
- Contacts with industry players in the broadest sense (e.g. game publishers) as well as industry associations, notably EGBA.
- Signature of cooperation and exchange agreements with the Amministrazione autonoma dei monopoli di Stato (AAMS) for Italy, the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) for Spain, the Gambling commission for the United Kingdom and the Danish regulatory authority.
- Agreements have been signed with bodies involved in sport and the fight against manipulation of sport: the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), a non-profit-making association of the main European sports betting operators, and Global Lottery Monitoring System (a non-profit-making association under Swiss law of some thirty national lotteries mobilised against the manipulation of sports competitions).
The Authority also responds to written requests for cooperation, a majority of which are dealt with under the Cooperation Arrangement between the gambling regulatory authorities of the European Economic Area.
Find here answers to frequently asked questions about manipulation of sporting events :
In which cases can ANJ’s Chairwoman decide to ban betting on a sport competition?
The ANJ’s Chairwoman may, if there is serious and consistent evidence of manipulation of a sporting event, prohibit betting on that event. She may also do it at the request of the organiser of the event.
What can be serious and consistent evidence?
- Dereferencing of the competition on national or international online gambling operators' websites;
- Unusual amount of bets registered;
- Unexplained drop in odds;
- Unusual geographical concentration of bets;
- Bans on betting in other countries;
- Alert received by one of our partners, national or international;
- Indications of match fixing relayed in the press or on social networks;
- Alert transmitted by the competition organiser, the integrity delegate or a competition stakeholder.
In the vast majority of cases, these prohibition decisions are the subject of international exchanges through an international network of national platforms for the fight against the manipulation of sports competitions.
What happens to bets taken after the prohibition decision?
Bets taken after the decision are void. The operator is obliged to refund the bets made regardless of the outcome of the competition.
What happens to bets taken before the ban decision?
These bets are valid and must be honoured by the operator unless there is a contrary clause to in the operator's playing rules, which is very often the case.
What does the ANJ do to fight against sports manipulation?
The ANJ is an important entity in the fight against the manipulation of sports competitions, both nationally and internationally:
- The ANJ's college draws up the list of authorised competitions and types of results. It also gives its opinion on the betting right contracts between the organisers of competitions in France and the sports betting operators (for example with the French Football Federation and the Professional Football League);
- All bettors' game data is recorded, which allows ANJ agents to detect atypical bets and unusual odds;
- ANJ’s Chairwoman can take the decision to prohibit the operators it regulates from offering bets on a sporting manifestation in the event of serious and concordant evidence of manipulation;
- The ANJ actively participates in the actions of the national platform for the fight against the manipulation of sports competitions created in 2016 and chaired by the minister in charge of sports. The monitoring panel of this platform, which the ANJ chairs, deals with all alerts received by the national platform on competitions in France and coordinates actions within the platform.
- The ANJ is a member of the Copenhagen Group, the international network of national platforms, constituted since 2016, which now includes nearly forty countries, on all continents. This network of national platforms enables the exchange of information and the fight against organised crime.
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