France not against online gaming

Pascal Perrault
Noted French poker player Pascal Perrault

In a recent interview with Agence France-Presse, French minister Eric Woerth made it clear that the French government was not against online gaming as long as it was regulated.

The timing is interesting because France has been receiving warnings from the rest of the European Union, which has pointed a finger at the country for not complying with free-trade agreements when it comes to online gaming. The European Court of Justice threatened to sue France over its state-run gaming monopoly unless changes are made. The ECJ gave the country a deadline of Oct. 29 to update its laws.

Discussions will commence next month in Brussels with France expected to concede the possibility of allowing private online gaming operators to take bets from French citizens. Woerth went on to say that not just any operator would be allowed into the country.

After the Brussels talks another meeting is scheduled for Oct. 17 in Paris. That meeting will take place with the intention of adapting the French model of betting and gaming so that it meets EU standards and allows cross-border competition. The Paris meeting will include French gambling monopolies Française des Jeux, PMU, French casino groups Barrière, Partouch and Tranchants, The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and Betfair.

In the past France has outlawed licensing of companies but has not technically prevented its citizens from taking part in online gaming.

The EU recently requested $100 billion from the U.S. government for losses sustained due to that country's Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

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