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France's Regulator Launches Awareness Campaign Against Unlicensed Operators


Three years after the opening of a legalized online poker market, France’s national regulator ARJEL launched its second awareness campaign against illegal operators.

While regulated iGaming markets in Europe are engaged in finding measures to fight against the decline of the industry and open to shared liquidity talks, France has chosen to take a different approach, raising public awareness on the risks of playing on unlicensed websites.

"You have only to lose when you play on non-ARJEL regulated websites" is the message the regulator chose to push with a campaign currently hitting French radio stations, national press and the Web. The advert (shown here — NSFW) shows men walking around completely naked after losing even their clothes on illegal games.

"It is crucial to make players aware of the risks they take when playing on non-regulated operators," the ARJEL explained about the new campaign. According to the regulator, theft of personal and bank data and problems when trying to cash winnings are among the main issues players may incur by playing on non-licensed operators.

Even if ARJEL’s campaign follows the regulator’s mission in terms of customers protection, the new initiative led many to question how it could really help in changing the negative trend France’s poker industry.

The latest numbers show that France is facing a decline comparable to the one hitting other European regulated markets as Spain and Italy, which seems to be caused both by the consequences of the global financial crisis and of the segregation of European player pools.

ARJEL former president Jean François Vilotte and member of the Economic Affairs Committee at the French parliament Damien Abad repeatedly pointed out how France should consider acting on different fields and be more open to modify its online gambling legislation, as it currently does not seem able to cope with today’s challenges.

Some of the measures being blamed for France’s online poker decline are 1.) the taxation applied to operators; 2.) a limited offering of poker games (currently limited to Texas hold’em and Omaha); and 3.) the closure of the market to European shared liquidity as a result from a recent parliamentary ruling.

Lead photo courtesy of

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