Posts Tagged ‘online gambling in france’

Poker Stars Passes Increased Rake Fees onto Unhappy Players in France

Monday, July 12th, 2010

I don't know what this says in French, but something tells me it isn't about higher rake fees...

I don't know what this says in French, but something tells me it isn't about higher rake fees...

Here’s a message for all you lawmakers out there contemplating drawing up laws to regulate online gambling. Write a law to actually regulate online betting activity, not hinder it. Sure, taxation and regulation tend to go hand-in-hand. But when the taxation policy does not make it worthwhile for operators to do business, then it kind of defeats the purpose does it not?

In the UK, where strict regulatory laws have driven out several top-shelf online betting operators in the last few years, in France, some operators are choosing to pass increases in taxation onto the players themselves. More specifically, the popular online poker room, Poker Stars has dumped a 2% increase in rake charges on French players, as a result of new regulatory laws – which for all intensive purposes – are supposed to liberalize online gambling in France.

Beginning earlier this month, the French government gave an open invitation to offshore betting operators seeking to do business with French citizens – and Poker Stars was one of them. The only catch was that the operators would be required to pay more in taxes than what they were generally accustomed to in other regulatory jurisdictions.

Instead of sucking up the loss, Poker Stars has decided to make the players pay. Mind you, these are the same players who helped make Poker Stars become one of the most popular online poker rooms in the world. Needless to say, players from France are up in arms about the decision to raise the rake charge up to 7.7% (the percentage amount of the pot that is deducted and paid to Poker Stars every hand), and have formed a coup d’etat of sorts.

Taking advantage of the rule called a “sit out”, French players have successfully managed to impose a boycott on Poker Stars. Permitting seated players to “sit out” a hand at a table, the rule is now being exploited to the point where some entire tables are being “sat out” by players. Taking note of the uprising, Poker Stars defended its decision, stating they have been losing money themselves as a result of raised taxes. However, you and me and all the players at Poker Stars know that’s absolute BS.

I guess then it comes down to how greedy does Poker Stars want to be? Whether the staged sit-outs will be enough to get the world’s most popular online poker room to rethink increased rake fees for French poker players remains to be seen.


Another Leading Online Gambling Operator Drops out of France

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Uh ya...what the picture says. No Francaise Por Favor?

Ya, what the picture says - No Francaise

What’s that they say about France? They are not so friendly to Americans? Well, how about they are not so friendly to online casinos? Following in the footsteps of said America, the French government has gotten around to passing a bill which apparently legalizes online casino gambling. The only catch is that – according to critics – the bill makes it easier for French gambling monopolies to prosper while giving private operators more reasons not to set up shop in France.

Following the pullout of William Hill and Betfair in France, yet another online casino operator has decided to cease taking bets from French citizens. This time around it’s none other than one of Playtech Software’s longest running licensees: Peak Entertainment. Having operated Omni online casino since the late nineties (the early beginnings of a formidable internet betting industry), Peak Entertainment is now facing another huge drop in traffic with the decision to close it’s doors in France – something they decided to do long ago in the U.S.

However, unlike in the States, where online casino gambling and internet poker is deemed “illegal”, France has made it legal, but with a stiff arm to regulate. The incentive to operate in France (i.e., profitability) is simply not enough for many operators.

As for Peak Entertainment, the company’s affiliate program management team, Focal Click, has just notified all current affiliates that French players will no longer be able to open accounts at Peak’s gaming destinations, and that current players residing in France will have their accounts locked. Otherwise, Peak would be guilty of operating in France, but without paying the apparently steep fees required to do so.

The email notification went on to say that all players will be paid out their entitled funds in a timely manner, which considering Focal Click’s past track record, should be a given. As for Peak’s online poker room, Sun Poker, current sentiment is that it will keep doing business in France so long as Playtech (iPoker network) decides to cease from dropping out.

France’s National Assembly Passes Bill to Regulate Online Betting

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

If there was ever any doubt before whether France would legalize online gambling, or better yet, greatly liberalize and regulate French-facing online casinos, sportsbooks and poker rooms – including those owned and operated by foreign companies – consider it washed away at this point in time.

This just in: The French National Assembly has voted in favor of the bill that would stand to legalize the most popular forms of online betting, thus bringing France one giant step closer to following in the footsteps of England and becoming the next world leader to embrace a less protectionist and more tolerant stance toward online gambling.

Euro online casinos are certain to be excited about the bill even though the legislation hasn’t officially “passed” as of yet. The bill first made it through a reading by the Senate in February, and now needs an approval from the French Supreme Court and Constitutional Council. And, of course, there is the green light from the EU, although it’s not like the EU did anything to stop France from anti-monopoly gambling activities before.

Speaking of monopolies, La Francaise Des Jeux (FDJ) – which just so happens to be the second largest lottery operator in the world – and Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) – the largest European horseracing monopoly – have both already taken measures to ensure they remain Kings of the Mountain when the gaming floodgates open to foreign betting operators.

Last month, FDJ bought out LVS, which was previously awarded a contract to supply a fixed odds online sports betting feed for FDJ. As for PMU, they have already signed contracts with Paddy Power and Party Gaming, each to provide sports betting and an online poker platform respectively.

French Online Gambling Monopoly, Partouche, eCOGRA Certified

Friday, March 19th, 2010

I never thought the day would come in which a State run gambling monopoly sought out – yet alone, achieved – a “Safe and Fair” accreditation from eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA). Yes indeed folks, the day has come. French monopoly, Partouche, has achieved the highly sought after seal, which will soon be displayed on Partouche’s online casino betting site.

In fact, the accreditation has been given to Partouche Technologies, which supplies the software for Partouche’s online gaming offering. Specifically, the accreditation applies to Partouche’s online casino platform. As soon as in-house development for an online poker platform is complete, Partouche says they will be seeking an eCOGRA certification in that area as well.

The news of Partouche’s eCOGRA certification could be taken with mixed feelings, considering the fact that France’s regulatory laws are still protectionist in certain areas. However, having an established land-based casino operator seek an accreditation from an online-based player protection body is a great boost to the credibility of the online gambling industry as a whole, and eCOGRA in particular.

While the online gambling industry certainly has eCOGRA to be thankful for in fostering high responsible gaming standards and transparency, eCOGRA would not even be what it is were it not for Microgaming Software and the host of online casinos, poker rooms, and to a lesser extent – sportsbooks and bingo rooms – that have answered the calling of fostering player trust and achieving the eCOGRA accreditation, which is no easy task, mind you.

In other words, for Partouche to ride off the credibility of eCOGRA, while still blocking other online casino operators (even some that are eCOGRA approved) from doing business with French citizens, would be a real shame.