ARJEL restructures to better service “evolving” online gaming market

15th October 2013 9:50 am GMT

French regulator L’autorité de regulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL) has completed a large-scale restructure designed to make the running of the organisation more efficient and give it better control over what it describes as an “evolving” online gaming sector.

The restructuring marks a complete overhaul of the organisation, which previously had its sanctions committee and special projects commissions reporting directly to president Jean-François Vilotte, with all other sub-sections reporting via the general directorate.

As a result of the restructure, the dedicated sanctions committee has been scrapped with its duties taken on by different divisions within the regulator.

In a statement, ARJEL described the restructure as reflecting its “experience of regulating the online gaming market accumulated since 2010,” when France first issued licences.

“This reform will ensure the efficiency and adaptability of the ARJEL, in a context of changing market and regulatory missions,” the regulator explained.

Vilotte retains his role following the restructure, working alongside chief secretary Monique Vatonne-Serviget in the leadership team, with the pair overseeing director general Frédéric Epaulard and his deputy Gilles Crespin.

The general directorate takes on a larger role in the restructured organisation, overseeing three sub-divisions, with a further two key divisions reporting to Epaulard and Crespin.

It directly manages; the secretariat general, responsible for operational issues such as finances and human resources; the department of economic studies and foresight, which monitors the financial performance of the industry and looks at new forms of gaming; and the department of communications, institutional relations and media, responsible for internal and external communications.

Reporting into the directorate general are the organisation’s other two divisions, the division for regulation and international relations, led by director Cécile Thomas-Throphime, and the division of information systems and inspections, headed up by Philippe Brandt.

Brandt’s division manages four sub-divisions, all working on the technical aspects of regulatory enforcement. Part of the sanctions committee’s duties have been assumed by the department for the control of illegal sites, which monitors illegal activity and performing technical analysis of unlicensed operators. It also takes over the sanctions committee’s role of launching proceedings against such sites, and is responsible for enforcing actions and punishments.

The division also incorporates a sub-section taking charge of monitoring licensed operators’ activities, assessing the technical capabilities of licence applicants and monitors compliance and certification procedures carried out by licensees.  

The dissolving of the sanctions committee has also seen the division for regulation and international relations take on some of its duties alongside the department for the control of illegal sites. The division manages the legal department, which is responsible for preparing all litigation against unlicensed sites, as well as making proposals for alterations to existing legislation, and also handles the department of amenities, which manages the procedures for awarding and assessing licences.

The division is also in charge of ARJEL’s department of sport, acting as liaison between the regulator and sporting bodies as well as monitoring the list of events approved for betting, and the international relations department, which handles cooperation and communication with the European Union and regulators from other territories.

It is unclear how the restructuring of the regulator affects a proposed merger of ARJEL and anti-doping body l’Agence française de lutte contre le dopage (AFLD). A bill was introduced to the French National Assembly in July, proposing the bodies be combined in order to set a unified standard for sporting ethics, though match-fixing was to be handled by a separate body.

ARJEL’s new organisational structure can be seen here.

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