France to issue
online betting licenses next year
agreeing with the European Union to open it's online betting
markets to foreign operators, France expects to start issuing
licenses to online betting companies as early as 2009. The
agreement came after a meeting between France Budget Minister
Eric Woerth and Internal Markets Commissioner Charlie McCreevy,
which aimed avoiding sanctions against France for their
restrictions against foreign online gambling firms. Currently
the online gambling market in France is monopolized by PMU for
horse racing and Francaise des Jeux for lotteries.
"Proceedings against France for our monopoly as regards online
betting have been open since June 2007. In these circumstances,
either we dig in our heels or we change our position. Being
realistic, we're beginning a controlled opening up of online
betting, which we have presented to the European Commission,"
Minister Eric Woerth told the press. A law would be presented to
the French parliament later this year, but Woerth noted that as
far as horse racing bets are concerned, there would be only
pari-mutuel betting, while with the rest of the sports betting -
only fixed odds betting would be allowed.