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 (The French Gambling Act) of 12 May 2010 on the introduction of competition and sector regulation of gambling and online gambling.
In Article 35 of the same law it is stated that ARJEL should consist of:
- A board of 7 members, chaired by a president
- A disciplinary Committee of 6 representatives
- Special Commissions (the Board may establish special commissions consisting of qualified persons in certain cases)
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.
The missions of ARJEL are 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 the unlicensed gambling operators that accepted players from France and asked them to 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.
Threatened with disappearance
Although Established since 2010, Arjel is now the subject of a battle in Parliament as to whether or not to maintain it.
Six years after its creation, the Regulatory Authority of online games (Arjel), will it pass to the trap? The question of the abolition of this independent administrative authority having the upper hand over gambling on the Internet - sports betting, horse racing, online poker - since their partial liberalization in 2010 is a matter for Parliament. The need to supervise and control effectively this sensitive sector remains more than ever ... topical.
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 end Arjel on 24 February 2020.
Should its amendment be adopted, Arjel would be merged with other entities by 2020, unless its powers were transferred to an administration, given that the State was itself active in the Gambling, through the FDJ and the PMU.