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The French National Gambling Authority (ANJ) has urged gambling consumers in the country to stay hyper vigilant while navigating Facebook.

Since November 2023, the regulator said “ill-intentioned” individuals had advertised online casino services on the social media site while pretending to represent land-based licensees such as Groupe Barrière and JOA.

The advertisers have set out to deceive users by directing them to unauthorised online gambling sites that have no affiliation with the French retail giants.

“The modus operandi of these individuals is always the same: distribution via a newly created fake user account bearing the name of the French casino establishment,” warned the ANJ in a statement.

“These spoofed images are then used to illustrate publications which include several redirecting internet links to false download pages for mobile applications, which then redirect to illicit gambling sites, mainly for online casino.”

Online casino in France

Online casino is currently unregulated in France and remains prohibited.

Last year, a new legislative bill was introduced by Democratic Movement politician Philippe Latombe, with the aim of legalising online casino in France by January 2030.

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has also advised France to regulate iGaming after the ANJ revealed the country’s illegal gambling market was worth somewhere between €748m and €1.5bn.

EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer described the scale of France’s online black market as “alarming” and among the biggest in Europe, alongside Germany and Italy.

“The country’s prohibition of online casino is clearly a big part of the problem,” he said at the time.

“Given the popularity of online casino, and the need to protect consumers from the risks of the black market, it is imperative that the French authorities urgently reassess their current ban on online casino games,” he added.

The ANJ has requested consumers come forward and report the fraudulent sites.

To date, the regulator has reported around 400 URLs to Facebook parent Meta. These reports resulted in the closure of 137 user accounts.

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