France ready to open up its betting market

jetset

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FRENCH AIM TO OPEN THEIR BETTING MARKETS BY 2009

Budget minister outlines changing policy to French reporters

Speculation a week ago that the French president was about to announce a more open gambling market in the EU nation was confirmed early this week when Budget Minister Eric Woerth told French media that his leader is aiming for a "controlled opening" of the betting market by 2009 or 2010.

Woerth told the French daily newspaper Le Parisien that when private betting providers are licensed to operate under French regulations, they will be subject to the same conditions and tax regimes as Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU), the current monopoly operator for betting.

Woerth said he expects the government to complete its plans this year and to launch a test phase in 2009 or 2010.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has displayed a more open mind to a competitive betting market in France, and Budget Minister Woerth and other French officials have held talks with European Commission officials in Brussels this year (see previous InfoPowa reports) It is believed that drafting of provisional regulations is already well advanced.

The new rules will open the market for online casinos, and Patrick Partouche, head of the Partouche land casino group, welcomed the possibility last week. His company already has an interactive gambling division.

Formerly one of the most aggressive opponents of any competition to its state gambling monopolies, France along with 9 other recalcitrant EU nations has been under increasing pressure from the European Commission, which is determined to enforce European Union requirements that member nations in the trading bloc permit free passage of goods and services with other members.
 

jetset

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More detail on French policy shift

FRANCE GEARING UP FOR ONLINE GAMBLING (Update)

Major new policy now evolving

The French daily newspaper Aujourdhui en France has confirmed earlier reports in Le Parisien (see previous InfoPowa reports) that France is moving toward the regulation rather than prohibition of online gambling, perhaps as early as 2009. The newspapers report that everything is ready for France to initiate discussions on its proposed framework for online gaming and betting.

In current moves, former MP Bruno Durieux handed in the results of a study he carried out on online gambling for the French finance inspectorate at the end of last week, and President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to give his final approval for the policy shift in the near future.

President Sarkozy has displayed a more open mind to a competitive betting market in France, and Budget Minister Eric Woerth and other French government representatives have held talks with European Commission officials in Brussels this year.

Woerth disclosed earlier this week that the president favours a controlled approach to opening up the market, ensuring that competition is even and balanced.

The timeframe for a new era in online gaming and betting is thought to be towards the end of 2009 or early in 2010, according to Woerth.

Reports suggest that France intends to develop a new system for online gaming and betting in partnership with other EU states such as Belgium, Germany and Holland, rather than adopt existing models such as those in the UK or Italy. An initial steering committee will gather at the end of April to move this agenda forward.

At a national level, operators will have to be licensed to offer their services in France and conform to the system, with strict guidelines relating to money laundering and player protection.

In his latest disclosures, Minister Woerth said that France was not acting under threat from the European Commission (which has engaged with the French on the country's monopolistic gambling policy) but to address the changes brought in by technological developments and the Internet. He added that horse racing betting had to evolve, but he would not allow fixed-odds betting products to be offered on the sport.

For other sports such as football, fixed-odds bets would be offered, but Woerth added: A sports bet is not betting on the colour of a tennis players jersey. The bet must be linked to the sporting performance, if not it can be the source of all kinds of dubious activity. The French government would also expect to share in betting revenues by way of taxes, he added.

Regarding online casino and poker gaming, these activities will be licensed, although further study is necessary, Woerth said. Slot machines are for now at least not approved on grounds that these types of gambling were thought to be too addictive, the minister said.

Formerly one of the most aggressive opponents of any competition to its state gambling monopolies, France along with 9 other recalcitrant EU nations has been under increasing pressure from the European Commission, which is determined to enforce European Union requirements that member nations in the trading bloc permit free passage of goods and services with other members.
 

Simmo!

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So BetClick being sold to a large French media corporation makes perfect sense now :D

France is known for being very single-minded...interesting they are about to do this as if France do, then every chance Holland, Germany etc might follow suit. With all the US news too, one might be forgiven for thinking online gambling has turned the corner at last.
 

jetset

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Let's hope so - it would be great to see the US market firing on all cylinders again!
 

KasinoKing

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For any other plebs like me who have never seen the word "recalcitrant" before and have not the faintest idea what it means...

= obstinately defiant of authority or restraint
Similar words:-
rebellious
disobedient
obstinate
opposing
resistant
stubborn
refractory
contumacious

(I've never heard of that last one either - oh well....:rolleyes:)
 

jetset

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Update

FRENCH STILL CONSIDERING ONLINE GAMBLING REGULATION

Prime minister's office currently has the ball

The French government is still considering the implications of legalising online gambling under strict controlling measures, according to a report this week by the Dow Jones business news service. According to the report Prime Minister Francois Fillon's office is currently handling the issue and considering a study commissioned last November and handed in recently to government (see previous InfoPowa report)

Currently, all internet-based games involving money are outlawed in France, except for the state monopolies Francaise des Jeux and pari-mutuel (or pool betting) horse betting PMU. However, the French have come under increasing pressure from the European Commission to comply with the European Union treaty regarding free competition with other member nations.

The study identifies possibilities for opening up the presently exclusive French market: issuing licenses limiting online betting to sporting events; including betting on card games or licensing all games except lotteries.

Sources report that the study does not seem to envision wide-open Internet gambling in France. The study apparently claims that the legalisation of online slot machines would run contrary to France's "objectives of common interest," including the protection of gamers against addiction and the prevention of fraud and money laundering.
 
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