France to expand Casino Regulations
The French Government is reportedly planning to grant smaller tourist-friendly towns independent casino licenses. France already has quite an extensive casino industry, and the new proposal could further expand the outreach.
According to initial estimates, France is home to over 200 casinos, most of which are operated by legal giants like Joa Groupe, Groupe Lucien Barriere, and Groupe Partouche. However, current regulations force such establishments to operate out of seaside resorts, large cities with populations over 500,000, and spa towns.
Jean-Luc Warsmann, a member of the French National Assembly, recently revealed that the authorities now plan to allow casinos in regions with a population of over 100,000. This could massively boost the industry already reeling from the pandemic.
The proposal is in line with Warsmann’ long-term vision of building a casino in Sedan. The Legislator has been working relentlessly with Mayor Didier Herbillon for the past one and a half decades to see a casino in Ardennes. While Sedan has a population of merely 16,500, Ardennes’ population is over 270,000, which meets the guidelines.
Sedan’s geographical location plays a crucial role in the decision. Situated along the banks of the river Meuse, the town is about eight miles from the international border with Belgium. The region serves as the administrative centre and is home to over 275,000 people.
Warsmann revealed that the authorities have been planning to set up a casino in the historic Chateau De Sedan since February 2019 as part of a wider effort to attract larger volumes of European travellers. However, the plan was forcefully put on hold due to the coronavirus.
Warsmann also explained that Jackie Goulet, the mayor of nearby Saumur, met with President Emmanuel Macron in 2019 to discuss a plan promoting tourism in the Loire Valley region. Goulet’s plan involved setting up a casino in town.
The Legislator revealed that the president reacted favourably to his suggestion, following which the municipality was tasked with further exploring the matter. Warsmann said:
“A lot of our local population play in Belgium due to the lack of a physical casino in the region. Building a casino in town will protect France’s fiscal interests and promote tourism in the region,” .
ANJ Lays Out Regulations for the Industry
The French gambling regulatory body L’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) is putting plans in motion for the country’s gambling industry following its creation last year. The body replaced the L’Autorité Nationale de Régulation des Jeux en ligne or ARJEL in an effort to unify the gambling regulations.
As part of its efforts, the ANJ revealed five key pillars to shape the industry and is working with a three-year deadline. However, it might take longer than expected for the plans to roll out completely.
Starting in 2021, the ANJ will focus on strategies to improve consumer protection and keep people out of trouble. The plan is already approved by the board of governors and the policymakers.
The plan focuses on five tenets that are being implemented to strengthen the operators’ obligations to give back to society. This includes issuing proper guidelines to maximize public safety by minimizing gambling addiction.
Isabella Falque-Pierrotin, President of the regulatory body, has been working tirelessly to set the government’s plans in motion. She has been utterly methodical in her approach so far, beginning with reforming the existing regulations while issuing new requirements and guidelines for the operators.
Prior to the ANJ, French regulatory oversight was heavily fragmented as every activity came with its own set of rules. The ANJ is now creating unified strategies that apply to all operators from varying disciplines while extending a certain level of flexibility to each.
The regulator wants to be seen as the pinnacle of French gaming regulation and play a leading role in EU member state cooperation drives. However, change has historically never been easy to accept in Europe, and the ANJ will likely run into a similar situation.
Category: Gambling industry