ARJEL Issues Responsible Gambling Advice
The French regulator, L’Autorité de regulation des Jeux en ligne (ARJEL) released its guidance on responsible gambling for consumers and companies during lockdown. The authority has warned of an increase in certain forms of gambling since the suspension of football leagues, horse racing, and other sports. As such, ARJEL has urged caution from both the players and operators in the country.
One of the main areas that are drawing concern from the regulator is that of the increased traffic to unlicensed operators since the beginning of the lockdown that was ordered by the French government in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19. Many players are also being drawn to online poker as a result, according to ARJEL.
ARJEL released a statement in which it outlined its concerns around the recent uptick in certain forms of gambling. In the statement the regulator doubled-down on its commitment to paying special attention to the dangers of excessive gambling during the lockdown. It has advised players to be attentive and careful of gambling in excess over the coming weeks.
ARJEL commended some of the actions that have been taken by operators with regard to responsible gambling safeguards. The regulator did stress, however, that operators should steer clear of offering bonusess to new customers to draw them into playing poker.
The reason that ARJEL gave for this is that, in its opinion, there are already enough incentives to gamble their money at present without operators making it even more tantalizing to players. ARJEL said that offering bonuses like these serve to “multiply” the incentives and could result in many players suffering from the adverse effects of gambling.
ARJEL has also recommended more vigilance from operators when it comes to recognizing patterns of abnormal and dangerous gambling activity from players.
ARJEL’s Advice for Players
The gambling regulator in France also gave some advice to players in the country who will find themselves more likely to participate in gambling over the coming weeks and months. ARJEL has urged consumers to take precautions when it comes to gambling online to protect their financial interests, as well as their mental health in these uncertain times.
The regulator has encouraged French gamblers to set themselves deposit limits, to prevent them from funneling too much money into gambling websites. Other limits that have been encouraged include stake limits and playing time limits.
If players feel as though they have lost control of their gambling habits, ARJEL has urged them to self-exclude from gambling until they feel like they have improved their ability to manage their gambling. In addition to these measures, players have been encouraged to budget effectively and to take up different hobbies to limit their time spent gambling.
One danger for players is chasing losses, according to ARJEL. To mitigate this danger, players should follow the steps that the regulator has outlined above.
ARJEL has also warned of the increase in the usage of unlicensed operators since the lockdown began. These unlicensed operators are free to offer a wider range of games than those that are licensed in France and, as such, can have a pull on players who might be experiencing higher levels of boredom than they normally would.
In France, no websites that offer any casino or slot games other than poker are legal, and ARJEL has emphasized this point in its statement. The regulator pointed out, in no uncertain terms, that any website offering such content is unlicensed and, therefore, illegal. Players using these services are not protected and the safeguarding procedures are not regulated and may be absent.
There are many issues with using unlicensed operators to gamble, not least the fact that many players who use their services will never be paid their winnings when they successfully place a bet or play poker. The regulator also said that there is even the possibility that some of the sports competitions on these websites are fake.
ARJEL warned that the most caution should be taken when using slot machines online. As these are unregulated, the pay-out mechanisms can be easily manipulated and they can also be one of the most addictive forms of gambling out there according to the regulator.
The regulator does not appear to be gearing up to take any real action that would affect gambling in the country but it hopes that this statement will serve as a reminder for players and operators that despite these unusual times, precaution should not be thrown to the wind when gambling.
Online poker has already been a growing market in France over the past year and the current state of affairs may cause it to continue to grow in popularity as players have more free time on their hands. ARJEL does not seem opposed to such an occurrence but does emphasize the need for responsible gambling.