11/19/09 – The French newspaper La Tribune takes a pessimistic look at the liberalisation of the French gambling market this week, questioning whether the new regime regulating a more open market will be effective in time for the World Cup football in South Africa.
The report suggests that plans are running behind schedule, and this could result in the liberalisation becoming effective some time later than the originally planned January 2010.
French plans to license online operators offering sporting bets, horse racing and poker have been approved by MPs in the National Assembly but are unlikely to pass the Senate until the end of March 2010, reports La Tribune… and it will take three months after that for the new regime to come into practical effect.
The World Cup starts in June 2010, and online gambling companies hoping to cash in on the confluence of this major sporting event with a more open French market could be disappointed.
The French requirements demand that Internet gambling companies wishing to operate in the French market have to obtain licenses – even those companies which operate from and have licenses in other European Union nations. At present, only the traditional state monopolies of the Française des Jeux, the PMU and French land casinos can offer gambling services legally.
Several EU companies are known to have plans to partner with French groups to make access easier, notably Paddy Power's collaboration with the PMU.
French senator François Trucy told La Tribune that parts of the law could be rewritten because there was a feeling that it did not go far enough to give health bodies the means to treat and prevent compulsive gambling.
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