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Online Casino News - September, 2008

France Ready to Regulate and Privatize Online Betting



  Seed Newsvine

by Devon Chappell, News Staff Writer

September 14, 2008

Online gambling regulation in Europe and EU States is slowly becoming more widespread. Largely thanks to the proactive stance of EU Internal Market Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy, the European facing online gambling sector is indeed beginning to look more like the fair marketplace that it should be. There is hardly any industry more competitive, not to mention more controversial than that of casino gaming and sports betting - and the coupling of privatization and regulation in Europe is helping to ensure a prosperous and fair betting sector for years to come.

The most recent country to embrace regulation and let go of the State monopoly mentality has been France. In fact, France has announced intentions to have regulatory laws in place by the end of June 2009. That essentially means France's gambling monopoly, Francaise des Jeux (FDJ), will have to be privatized, which the government plans to have achieved by at least 72% with the help of Merrill Lynch financial advisers.

The question now is just who exactly has their eyes on taking over FDJ? Well, it is said that the French groups, Bouygues and Vivendi are at least interested in FDJ's online operations. There's a good chance several other companies also have their eyes on the prize. However, taking over a State-run gambling monopoly is a tricky situation, and oftentimes depends on having close ties with certain government officials.

Taking this phenomenon one step further, widespread regulation in Europe could very easily lead to "privatized" gambling monopolies looking to expand across fair trade lines into other EU countries. In fact, you can probably count on this being the case. Smaller betting companies, especially those with a strict presence in the online sector, could very well become "takeover targets" for these resourceful and well financed monopolies.

This is precisely one of the fears and concerns of the U.S. facing online gambling industry. But instead of State gambling monopolies, we're talking about major casino brands like Harrah's and Sands. Already having branded themselves in the consciousness of American's (gamblers or not), empires like Harrah's could easily take the lions share of U.S. traffic if online gambling gets the green light in America. While this would certainly be frustrating for the smaller guy, so long as things remain "open", the online gambling industry will be better off.



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