In the two and a half years since its establishment, ARJEL the French regulatory authority for online games has been very active in ensuring compliance with French gambling laws.
As their report released last week indicates, staff at ARJEL have been inspecting unlicensed operators at a strenuous pace of rate of 3-4 sites per working day. The tempo is even more remarkable considering that the French workweek lasts only 35 hours.
According to their impressive statistics, over 65% of the 2,147 sites inspected provided casino games, while approximately 17% offered players to bet on sports in France.
The regulator was highly efficient in handling those illegal operators, as over half of the sites checked ceased to accept players from France voluntarily, immediately upon or even before receiving a friendly letter from ARJEL.
A further 39% blocked French players after the regulator initiated an official procedure against them.
Of the remaining 193 online gambling destinations 74 are under inspection to determine their compliance. Current regulations prohibit not only the acceptance of new French gamblers by unlicensed sites, but also the termination of previously registered player accounts from the country, which must be verified by ARJEL.
There have been only 119 sites putting up resistance and 36 of those already lost, the courts having ordered the country’s 12 major ISPs to block access to them.
The remaining 83 sites may face the same fate, unless they comply fast. Those offshore sites with no plans to ever apply for a French license, have of course little to lose by dragging their feet.
In fact, bleak figures relating to legally licensed operators suggest that companies are not scrambling head over heels to enter the country.
At the latest count the number of active licenses was down to a total of 21, as limited player liquidity has been driving certain companies – especially the recently legalized French poker rooms – out of the market.