Online Poker in France Challenged by Malta

04 June 2010

The French law that would impose a 7.5 percent tax on online sports and horseracing wagers and a 2 percent levy on poker bets has met a last minute snag with the regulation on online poker in the form of a complaint filed by Malta. The online sports betting and horse race betting will open up next week as planned however, the online poker plans have been postponed for at least a month.

The complaint from Malta does not really come as a surprise, the claim the new law which requires operators to be licensed in France, is in violation of the EU standard on free movement and trade. These same concerns were brought up earlier in the week by others as well.

The poker element of the new French law cannot move forward until the concerns raised by Malta are addressed and France now has up to a month to reply. Next week, some betting websites will be legal and regulated for some of the gambling services they offer but not others and the French regulator Arjel will announce the 15 betting sites that can legally operate in France.

The penalty for operating illegally in France will be to three years in prison and a €45,000 fine. As reported earlier, Betfair and William Hill has already stopped taking bets from France and though William Hill is considering getting a French license, Betfair has setup a petition challenging the new policy claiming much like Malta has, that citizen of the EU should be able to choose any EU online gambling site.

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