The French Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne (English: "Regulatory authority for online games"), usually referred to as ARJEL, is an independent administrative authority, specifically designed to regulate online gambling in France. It was created by Article 34 of Law No 2010-476  of the 12 May 2010 (French Gambling Act) introduced to enhance the competition and sector regulation of gambling and online gaming.
The members of this authority are currently:
- Jean-François Vilotte, Chairman (appointed by the President of the Republic)
- Jean-Michel Brun (appointed by the President of the Republic)
- Alain Moulinier (appointed by the President of the Republic)
- Jean-Louis Valentin (replaced the resigned Guy Drut) (appointed by the President of the National Assembly)
- Dominique Laurent (appointed by the President of the National Assembly)
- Jean-Luc Pain (appointed by the President of the Senate)
- Laurent Sorbier (appointed by the President of the Senate)
The term office of all members is 6 years and can't be extended or renewed.
In Article 35 of the French Gambling Act, it prescribes that ARJEL should consist of:
- A board of 7 members, chaired by a president
- A disciplinary Committee of six representatives
- Special Commissions (the Board may establish special commissions consisting of qualified persons in certain cases)
The mission of ARJEL is to:
- issue approvals and ensure compliance by operators
- protect the vulnerable and fight against addiction
- ensure the safety and fairness of gambling operations
- fight against illegal sites
- fight against fraud and money laundering
Currently only online operators offering sportsbooks betting, horse racing betting and poker games can get ARJEL's license. At ARJEL's site there's a list of approved operators and their websites. Also, a special section of the site is reserved for published decisions of the board (approvals and rejections).
In June 2010, ARJEL contacted unlicensed gambling operators that accepted French players and requested that they stop doing so. That was the first step towards banning those sites that didn't get ARJEL's approval and operated without licenses. Then organisation focused on blocking access to these sites rather than attempting to prosecute operators based overseas. It turned to French ISPs asking them to block the unlicensed sites in August, 2010. Despite the initial reluctance of ISPs to obey ARJEL, the Tribunal de grande instance de Paris held that they must act towards preventing French gamblers from accessing such websites. The fine for the failure to block the domain was estimated at €10,000 per day. Although ARJEL can fine the unlicensed operators (up to €100,000), it was more effective to act through ISPs.
ARJEL is now the subject of Parliamentary debate as to whether or not to it should be maintained. An amendment introduced by the deputy Jean-Luc Warsmann (LR) to the draft law on the general status of independent administrative authorities and public authorities aims to dissolve ARJEL on 24 February 2020. Should its amendment be adopted, ARJEL would be merged with another entity or institution, even though it was the State itself that was active in loosening the gaming laws in 2010, through the FDJ and the PMU.