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Online Casino News - March, 2008

France Still Weaseling to Protect Online Gambling Monopoly

by Devon Chappell, News Staff Writer

March 4, 2008

It isn't any coincidence that Canada has a large French speaking population. Take a history lesson and you'll quickly see why. However, could it be a coincidence that both the Canadian and French governments are talking about and making gestures to pass an online gambling prohibition of their own? While the Canadian government is more or less talking about it and making "threats" if you will, the French, well, the French have made it a little further down the road.

Regarding the French, in a fashion that is more protectionist than the U.S. right-winged prohibition, the French government is close to passing a UIGEA of their own. The way things stand right now, the French have proposed a decree under the 2007 French Delinquency Act that imposes technical constraints on payment processors and French citizens doing business with online casinos or gambling sites not owned by French state monopolies, Francaise des Jeux and the PMU.

The first part of the French Delinquency Act aims to keep French citizens from being able to even access foreign operated online casinos by pressuring internet service providers to impose ip address blockages. However, we all know how easy it is for people to find a way around these "technicalities", which would essentially end up breeding an underground movement.

This is precisely one of the arguments of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), which recently issued a release in response to France's proposal. In light of European Union law, the EGBA has urged the European Commission to issue a decision of its own, warning France of infringement hearings if they do indeed go on with their plans to monopolize the online gambling industry even further in France.

The sheer hypocrisy of France's actions is enough to warrant a stern warning. Just last month, the French gambling monopoly unveiled its plans to launch a website that would take bets from citizens of the UK and other European countries just in time for the 2008 Euro Football Championships.

The world will know by March 31 if France decides to go ahead with its plans. A backlash from the European Commission is more than likely if France continues to weasel its way around EU law with hypocritical arguments continued monopolizing.


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