France Opens Gaming Market to CompetitionPublished March 12, 2009 by OCR Editor
Budget Minister Eric Woerth unveils draft legislation that France hopes will stamp out illegal betting.
France announced on Thursday that it will open its gaming market to private competition, making it the latest European country to amend laws to bring it into line with its European Union obligations.
French Budget Minister Eric Woerth unveiled draft legislation for the regulation of the country's online gaming market at a press conference in Paris. The Council of Ministers must now review the bill before submitting it to Parliament. The law, to come into effect on January 1 2010, will allow French citizens to gamble online.
Woerth said the French gaming market would be expanded to help France "get out of an unsustainable situation in which the state is losing a growing part of the betting market."
France is the latest country to bow to pressure from a 2007 European demand, including the threat of a lawsuit, to end state gambling monopolies as outlined in EU competition laws.
Under the new laws, the French government will charge a levy of around 7.5 percent on online bets on sports events and horse races, and around two percent on online bets on poker. Given that France currently earns around $6.3 billion a year from its gaming industry, including online gambling, that will mean a large amount of revenue for the French government.
France follows the example of several smaller EU countries, including Sweden, Denmark and Poland, which all bowed to pressure in 2008 by introducing new laws that ended state-run gambling monopolies in compliance with EU regulations.
For more on the online gambling market in France, visit including Online Casino Reports France.