Sunday begins the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and who says popular global sporting event also says sports betting. And this year, according to forecasts by the National Gaming Authority (ANJ), bets on the Internet will reach at least 530 million euros, or 70% more than in 2018, during the previous World Cup in Russia. The opportunity for the department of Seine-Saint-Denis to launch a prevention campaign against sports betting, “for the population of course, but young people in particular”, assures Stéphane Troussel, the socialist president of the department.

Indeed, according to a study by Public Health France published in October, out of 100 sports bettors, around fifteen risk having a problematic practice. And according to a study by the National Gaming Authority from 2021, 69% of online bettors are under the age of 35. However, Seine-Saint-Denis has for years been the youngest department in metropolitan France. “This World Cup in Qatar is one of all excesses, including in terms of sports betting, we are taking advantage of this shooting window to have good visibility for our campaign”.

“I like this adrenaline”

Karim, 20, met at the exit of a PMU bar in Pantin assures him: the Football World Cup is the perfect opportunity to get back on track. “I’ve been playing for at least 3 or 4 years. Small sums eh and especially on football. The young man, who works on temporary assignments, admits that he has never calculated his gains… and his losses. “I prefer not to know. Because surely that in total, I lost more. But I like this adrenaline, I discuss it with my soces, we compare our bets. In 2021, only 0.02% of players won at least 10,000 euros over the year thanks to sports betting.

Asked whether a prevention campaign can have any effect on him, Karim hesitates: “I know that I could spend my money elsewhere. But frankly I’m not addicted. It’s just to pass the time. “A pastime prohibited for minors and which carries a high risk of addiction. Still according to the ANJ study of 2021, more than a third of the 15-17 year olds questioned bet online. And if risky behaviors and transgression are often obligatory passages of adolescence, we must be wary of them when we can no longer do without them. This is confirmed by Armelle Achour, president of SOS Joueurs and psychologist: “Players are increasingly young, this trend has seen a leap since confinement, and more and more players are not waiting to be adults to bet and become addicted”.

The codes and vocabulary of the youngest

At the departmental council of 93, we know the addictive risks of online betting and the striking power of these companies: “They use increasingly aggressive ads to seek out these audiences, the youngest and ultimately the poorest in between them, analyzes Stéphane Troussel. We therefore found it appropriate to take up their slogans by diverting them because if the campaign had been smooth, without a hitch, we would never have heard of it. “He also welcomes the echoes of this new campaign, with in particular a retweet from the mother of Kylian Mbappé, the PSG player categorically refusing to appear in this kind of advertising.

Even if Winamax was forced at the start of the year to withdraw its “Tout pour la daronne” advertisement, because, according to the ANJ, it was spreading “the message that sports betting can contribute to social success”, the punchline makes noise, and especially among young people from whom she borrowed her codes and her vocabulary: “she was really effective, finally in the bad sense of the word for addictions”, specifies Armelle Achour. And may even have conquered new audiences: the ANJ survey dating from 2021 also found that in 2020, 34% of sports bettors were between 18 and 24 years old, compared to 25% in 2012. line is therefore increasingly young.

“With us, it’s the law of the jungle”

The president of Seine-Saint-Denis wants to rely on this campaign to change the legislation. “Obviously, we are taking advantage of the sporting event that is the World Cup, of the enthusiasm it will arouse, to shed light on this major problem of betting addiction, in particular when we know that 65% of bets are made on football. ” Stéphane Troussel assures him, France can do much better in the regulation of advertising on this specific market: “When we look at Spain, Italy or the United Kingdom for example, we realize that for ten years at us, it’s the law of the jungle. “Same observation on the side of SOS Joueurs, an organization created in 2010: “The French government became really aware of the problem of gambling addiction in 2010, at the time of the opening to the French online betting market, with deregulation of the most severe ”, abounds Armelle Achour.

Stéphane Troussel hopes to alert the deputies so that they decide on the British model to prohibit in particular influencers, personalities and high-level athletes from participating in such campaigns. And put an end to “welcome offers, such as “win 100 euros, even before you start playing”, to attract new players. France must adopt legislation as it did a few years ago for tobacco and alcohol. An ambitious bet.

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