It has been about three months now since major changes to French gambling laws saw the country’s online gambling industry open up, and the change has not gone as smoothly as regulators expected. Some new licensees are unhappy with the way things are being run, while other gambling groups are preparing to challenge the new laws in court.
A few of the gambling groups lucky enough to have obtained licenses to offer internet gambling in France are frustrated with the way things are progressing. Betclic recently invited other French online gambling license holders together to discuss the situation. Among their complaints is France’s apparent preference for traditional operators, along with the requirement that bookmakers pay 1% of turnover to local sport groups.
UK online sportsbook Stanleybet along with French bookmaker Zeturf are currently preparing their legal challenges to the new rules. These sports betting groups are opposed to the PMU monopoly on racing betting in the country, and are prepared to battle for their right to offer their own internet betting in France. The argument is one that has been seen over and over across the EU – quite simply, they insist that the idea of an online gambling monopoly stands in the face of EU free trade laws.
Legal experts have called the new French gambling laws ‘anti-competitive’ and suggest that the liberalization of the country’s internet gambling industry is not nearly as open as it claims to be. A French legal publication called Revue Lamy Droit de L’immateriel recently published a lengthy report deconstructing the new laws, pointing out several flaws. The ultimate conclusion is that the laws are not in compliance with EU regulations. As more and more groups speak out against the regulations, France might have to begin taking these voices seriously.