Francois Jean Marie, a hardened French mafioso, could not be happier as the French government continues to drive thousands of online sports gamblers away from licensed sportsbooks. Francois, who met us for a quick chat as he was taking his prized twin poodles for a pedicure, explains.
“The French government created a system where everyone loses. Socialism at its best since everyone is equal. Players are running away faster than even the German army before the French tanks. French punters prefer to wager with an honest criminal than a licensed liar,” Francois explained as we stopped to examine a new line of winter berets.
ARJEL has just concluded a fresh industry research and revealed that the sports betting market including online sportsbooks in France has declined by twenty three percent compared to last year.
The gross gaming revenue of sports betting went down twenty four percent from €38 million last year to €29 million in 2011. Horse racing, however, enjoyed an increase of seventy seven percent to €69 million. This is the one sector, where Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) operating in full compliance with French gambling laws, enjoys most of its success.
This is the second time this year that French sports betting market has seen a decline. Analysts fear that now the unregulated operators will come out of the shadows to slice a piece of French market. The decrease is largely attributed to draconian tax policies on gambling in France.
President of ARJEL, Jean-Francois Vilotte, told France gambling news that the current taxation system: “Is near certain to lead to a decrease in tax revenues for the State in the medium to long term and the illegal operators getting back to taking market share, which would be a concern for the regulator and the Treasury.”
Hard criticism of current gaming taxation regime has been voiced for quite some time. Stephane Courbit, the big boss behind Manga Gaming, described current French laws as “the worst online gambling laws in Europe” and says that they are killing his business.
The continuous decline in figures may finally force French lawmakers to change their approach and base the taxes on gross gaming revenue and not the amounts staked, as it currently is. The current system was initially favoring the former gaming duopoly of PMU and FDJ to ensure that competition was minimal.
Ever since the French market was opened up for smaller and foreign operators, the change in taxation policy has been on the lips of every major industry player.
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