France’s online poker regulator, ARJEL, has warned licensees that the coronavirus crisis isn’t an excuse to let standards slip.
In a memo issued to operators on Tuesday, the regulatory body warned against aggressively targeting new players with bonuses.
ARJEL hasn’t made it illegal to run sign-up promotions. It has, however, said that bonuses can’t be made unusually attractive in light of current market conditions.
French Online Poker Sign-Ups Spike
France has been on lockdown since March 17. The coronavirus prevention measure has caused a “significant increase” in online poker activity.
ARJEL hasn’t released specific data but the memo notes a general upturn in new players. The spike in sign-ups is great news for the local industry.
Although liquidity sharing has helped the country’s struggling online poker economy, France is still a tough market. In addition to being ring-fenced, high taxation has hurt the industry over the last decade.
The coronavirus pandemic can’t be seen as a positive in virtually any regard. However, the data suggests that it has been beneficial for French operators. Be that as it may, ARJEL doesn’t want short-term gains to result in long-term issues.
“This significant increase of online poker has led ARJEL to call on operators to be very vigilant. As such, operators should not multiply incentives to gambling by bonuses,” reads the April 14 memo.
In addition to warning against irresponsible bonus practices, ARJEL wants operators to monitor players closely. The call for vigilance echoes the recent message put out by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
Positive Coronavirus Response from Online Gaming Industry
Across the industry as a whole, the spike in online poker activity can be directly linked to coronavirus lockdowns. This fact hasn’t been lost on operators. Over the last two weeks, fundraisers for affected casino and healthcare workers have become commonplace in poker.
In tandem with this culture of benevolence, regulators have been working to keep things in order. Like the UK and France, Spain recently pushed through a ban on gaming advertisements. Although the law was pending, its implementation was sped up to prevent problem gambling issues during the coronavirus crisis.
These innovations and initiatives are a sign of strength. Despite the devastation being caused by the latest global pandemic, online gaming, as an industry, is showing that business can continue. Moreover, it’s showing that business can continue in a safe and responsible way.
If nothing else, this is positive PR for online poker and casino gaming. Significantly, it’s positive PR that can enhance the industry’s reputation and help push through new laws in regions where they currently don’t exist.