Recent speculation that France is openly considering the prospects of regulating online gambling have proven true. Following a report in the Le Perisien the French daily newspaper, Aujourd'hui en France, has reported that France is indeed laying out specific plans to regulate rather than fight the European Union, and consequently, the European Court of Justice, in order to protect its State-run gambling monopoly.
Saying "everything is ready" to begin discussing a regulation proposal, the report even went on site a specific timeframe - and it's sooner than anyone could have imagined. Quite possibly as early as 2009, France could have a solid regulatory framework in place. Budget Minister, Eric Woerth, said it is most likely to take place near the end of next year or in early 2010, which if you consider how long it took the UK to get something in place, is pretty darn fast.
The difference between the two is France's aim to impose a new "system" of regulation that is more like that of Germany and Holland than England, whose policy is more liberal. In other words, there's a catch. Despite claims that France is buckling under pressure from European Union Commissioner Chalie McCreevy, and seeking some sort of compromise, Woerth said France's sudden turnaround was only because of newly developed technological innovations on the internet.
Hello. Anybody home? Last time I checked, 128-bit encryption, self exclusion protocols and Random Number Generators have been around for several years. Nice try Woerth. What will certainly be the most interesting to see is how France goes about regulating online casinos. At this point, Woerth said "further study is necessary" and that slot machines are too addictive. He also said that fixed odds betting on horseracing would not be permitted, but would be allowed on most other sports.
So long as France makes room for outside gambling site operators in other EU States, including poker rooms, sportsbooks and online casinos, there shouldn't be any problems in so far as what the European Union deems an open and fair market. These motions will certainly get Commissioner McCreevy off their back for the time being.We'll just have to wait and see what the French have got cooking up behind closed doors.