France to Award 30 Licenses for Online Gambling
02 June 2010
Today the government of France approved a new online gambling bill. The bill passed the French parliament by a narrow 299-233 vote. The French will grant only 30 licenses to operate online casinos and poker rooms within its borders. Though it is now official and France says that licenses will be granted in time for the 2010 World Cup, not everyone is excited about the French market.
Some are already criticizing the gambling legislation saying that it is discriminating against all non-governmental organizations and is in effect creating an industry that will be monopolized by the state. Others have pointed out that due to this alleged discrimination, the new bill is actually not in line with EU standard that says that all online gambling sites should be given a fair chance to compete on a level playing field.
There are others though that applaud this new online gambling bill as a huge step forward for the industry as a whole. They state that this will be a step in the right direction as far as taxing the industry, assuring fair betting practices and avoiding money laundering through use of the internet.
Within the online gambling industry the reaction to the new French market has also been split. Some have already applied for licenses such as Everest Poker, BetClic and PMU. 888 and Microgaming have also applied and Roger Raatgever, CEO of Microgaming, said,
“We are in a fantastic position to support any company looking to launch and operate a successful online poker room in France, with our market-leading poker platform and the value-added services provided by Spiral Solutions France. With the new regulation in place, France offers a fantastic environment to do what we do best; delivering the best platform of online games to our eGaming clients.”
Two of the biggest European gambling operators, Betfair and William Hill have yet to apply however and Tim Phillips, director of European public affairs at Betfair said, “We are looking very hard at the French market and how we might operate within the new licensed regime. Though it’s not impossible for a newcomer to create a commercially viable business, most projections show it will be very difficult to do so, given the proposed restrictions imposed on license holders.”
William Hill released a statement saying, “In conjunction with the changes to the regulatory regime in France, William Hill Online is considering whether to apply for a license to offer permitted online gambling products to French residents.”
Both Betfair and William Hill have stopped accepting bets from French players as a result of not having a license to legally operate within France. So only time will tell who may get one of the 30 coveted licenses and how online gambling in France will play out amongst the gambling industry leading companies.
14 May 2010Canadian Man Pleads Guilty in U.S. Online Gambling Charge
Douglas Rennick, a Canadian man, has pleaded guilty to a count of processing offshore bets of U.S. citizens. Originally Rennick was looking at a charge of conspiracy and bank fraud. He had allegedly laundered $350 million dollars for overseas internet gambling companies. Rennick was indicted in August and on Tuesday entered a guilty plea to the one charge in New York Federal court. Part of the plea was forfeiting $17.1 million and a possible prison term of 6-12 months.Read full article
09 June 2010France Issues 11 Licenses For Online Gambling
France acknowledged that 11 companies have been granted license and have been registered to conduct online sports and horse race betting as well as online poker within France. According to Arjel president Jean-Francois Vilotte, the regulator of gaming in France, “There were 35 requests for licenses and we have retained 17 at this stage. None have been formally rejected.Read full article
29 June 2010ARJEL Approves Two More for Online Gambling
The French Gaming regulator ARJEL this week has awarded two more licenses to operate online gambling sites in France. PartyGaming was given a license to operate their online poker and sports betting websites to French residents. PartyGaming will offer sports betting right away and when the issue with Malta is remedied, they will offer online poker. Earlier PartyGaming announced three deals that will allow them to benefit from a huge pool of players.Read full article