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
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.