French gambling regulator the Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) has removed 179 sports competitions from its list of events approved for betting.
Since 2010, the regulator has published a list of sporting events on which bets can legally be placed in France. The list is updated regularly and was thoroughly reviewed in December 2023, with a view to making it more coherent and easier to understand.
Having been updated regularly since 2010, the ANJ said the previous list had “lost its readability and consistency.”
It has, therefore, now been rewritten, in consultation with the Sports Directorate of France’s Ministry of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as French sports federations and leagues, and betting operators.
By publishing a limited selection of events which are approved for betting, the ANJ aims to prevent the manipulation of sports, prohibit bets that do not rely on knowledge of a sport (e.g. bets on the colour of a player’s socks), and limit betting to certain competitions.
To achieve all of its objectives, the regulator also publishes a list of approved bet types – determining which in-event occurrences customers may bet on, so that they may not place bets on factors which are purely down to chance such as the result of a coin toss or whether a game will feature an odd or even number of goals.
In total, 179 sports competitions have been removed from the list in the overhaul. The list now includes 772 approved competitions for betting.
The ANJ said it had removed several competitions because they no longer exist, or because they no longer meet the legal criteria for inclusion on the list.
One reason for removal from the list could be a competition’s lack of significance, to which the ANJ attributed the removal of first level Armenian football, or the risk of sports manipulation, for which reason the first level Tunisian football championship was removed.
The ANJ also identified a particular risk of sports manipulation in US college sports, and for that reason removed all games but the final of the popular March Madness basketball competition.
On the other hand, several competitions were added back onto the list, including friendly matches played by the French men’s football and rugby teams.
A ban on handicap betting in tennis was also removed, as was a ban on bets on the number of points scored by a player in a basketball game, regardless of whether they score more or less than 20 points.
The new list will come into force on 1 March this year and will be evaluated at the end of the year “in consultation with all stakeholders.”