French gambling regulator vows to block Cresus Casino

French gambling regulator vows to block Cresus Casino
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French gambling regulator vows to block Cresus CasinoThe online operator has been warned that legal action is in the pipeline while the industry lobbies for l...

The online operator has been warned that legal action is in the pipeline while the industry lobbies for legalisation.

The French gambling regulator, L'Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), last week vowed to take swift action to block access to the illegal online gambling site Cresus Casino, after it allegedly circumvented a previous order for internet service providers to block visits to the site. In a statement, the ANJ announced its intention to pursue legal action “as soon as possible” against both the brand’s owners and those who profit from its “illicit activity”. This follows “numerous reports” suggesting that some customers are not receiving their winnings.

The ANJ’s move comes after it initially ordered internet service providers to block the Cresus Casino platform on 20 June this year. However, the regulator reported that the operator made the site accessible again by cunningly creating a new web address and, while the operator attributed the change to “technical improvements”, the ANJ remains unconvinced. Consequently, the regulator has issued a public warning regarding Cresus Casino, highlighting the “dangers of this site, which has particularly high audiences and about which it receives numerous reports from people who do not receive their winnings”.

The regulator’s statement continued, outlining its plan to “block all access to this site as soon as possible”. It also confirmed that “legal action will be taken against the operator of this site and the individuals who profit from its illicit activity in France”.

The ANJ confirmed that it was collaborating with European regulators “to combat illegal supply on an international scale”, stressing the “serious risks associated with playing on illegal gambling sites, including payment fraud and a lack of protection in legal disputes”.

The regulator noted that it has blocked 650 URLs since the beginning of 2024.

While online casinos remain illegal in France, there is growing pressure from industry groups, including the European Gaming and Betting Association, to legalise online gambling activities. This pressure is particularly evident in the recent GBP 2.1 billion acquisition of the Malta-headquartered Kindred Group (owner of Unibet and 32 Red) by French operator FDJ, aiming to form a larger pan-European operator group.

Illegal gambling offerings are punishable in France by a three-year prison sentence and a fine of EUR 90,000, along with up to seven years’ imprisonment and a financial penalty of EUR 200,000 if offered by an organised-crime gang.

The French gambling industry has become increasingly vocal in recent months in lobbying the government to relax its rules on online gambling. The UK sector is thriving, with an annual contribution to the Exchequer of around GBP 3.6 billion in the 2024/25 tax year, according to data published by the Office of National Statistics. While not all of this revenue comes from online gambling, with physical casinos, and trackside and high street bookmakers also contributing, the contribution from online operators continues to grow.