ANJ: French teenage survey warns of underage gambling protection failures 

 l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), France’s unified gambling regulator, has expressed concerns about the increase of French minors engaging with gambling activities. 

The views have been highlighted in the regulator’s French youth gambling report – conducted by research observatory for psychological disorders SEDAP – as part of an ongoing assessment of French gambling’s market standards and consumer safeguards.

Feedback from a  ‘quantitative survey’ of 5,000 French teenagers aged 15-to-17 years old, revealed that more than a third (35%) of ‘young minors’ had gambled during 2021.

Raising safer gambling concerns, survey feedback outlined that ‘on average, French teenagers begin to gamble at 13 years old’.

The study reported that last year 78% of teenage respondents had played scratchcards, whilst 48% had purchased a national lottery draw-based ticket.

It also identified a 50-50% split in French teenagers using online and retail verticals to gamble.

Sports betting was particularly prominent amongst male respondents, as the survey outlined that 28% of youths had wagered in the past year

Of distinction the survey outlined that ‘21.5% have placed bets on esports competitions, knowing that taking bets on esports is prohibited in France’.

By applying SEDAP’s survey findings to France’s official census of minors aged 15-to-17 – ANJ disclosed its figure that 35% of minors had participated in gambling activities during 2021. 

Updating stakeholders, ANJ stated that it would review all land-based age ID verification requirements, as 73% of respondents stated that an ‘underage ban was considered no obstacle’ for scratchcards and draw-based purchases or to enter venues.   

It noted: “Young people know very widely (73.4%) that the sale of gambling is prohibited to them, they do not feel this sales ban is an obstacle. In fact, more than half say that it is very or fairly easy for them to play scratch cards.”

Further feedback indicated that French minors were influenced by family factors, as 45% of respondents stated that they had gambled with their parents and ‘23% even accessed parents’ online accounts’. 

The survey indicated that a review of French gambling’s underage warnings used by licensed operators should be required as “almost 9 out of 10 respondents (86%) stated that they had seen campaigns on French media but chosen to gamble.”   

ANJ President Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin commented on the report –  “Gambling is infiltrating more and more into the daily life of minors, relayed by advertising and by a certain complicity of parents. Whether online or in the physical world, combating underage gambling is now a major public policy issue because, as we know, the earlier gambling begins, the greater the risk of addiction.

“The ANJ is determined to mobilize all its tools to vigorously fight against these practices, including through sanctions. It is also necessary that all the actors concerned are mobilised, parents, operators, social networks and public authorities.”

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