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France to issue online betting licenses next year

France to issue online betting licenses next year After 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.

 Published on 06/06/2008

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