Closer Look at French Gambling Law

Published March 25, 2009 by OCR Editor

Closer Look at French Gambling Law

Is the French law compatible with European standards? EGBA doesn't think so.

On March 5, the French government presented a draft of its online gambling law. The European Commission's Chief, Gunther Verheugen, will have until June 8 to review the law for conformity with EU law.

It is now the time for public scrutiny, and for that we have EGBA.

Objections
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) is concerned that a series of key provisions of the draft law would conflict with the EC Treaty and the European Court of Justice (ECJ) case law. In their public campaign launched today, they raise the following five points:

Offline sports betting will remain under the monopoly of FDJ and PMU, affecting any reform of the online sports betting environment.
On what grounds do the French intend to limit the opening of horse betting only to pool betting? Does "French tradition" cut it, legally speaking?

The pay-back ratio ceiling - percentage of stakes paid back to players - has no proved or known impact on consumer protection, so why set a ceiling in the first place?

The French online gaming authority seems to duplicate a licensing process that already exists in other jurisprudence of the ECJ, e.g. the UK.

Additional comments
France, EGBA points out, is keeping to its intention to establish a "local Internet market for online betting and gaming services." This will be achieved if the French authorities get their way to adopt payment and ISP blockings and continue criminal enforcement against EU operators.

With EGBA and other organizations continued good work, more debate over potential conflicts is sure to come in the months ahead.

See also

A Gambling Profile: Victor Chandler


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