February 2006 is the month that upset everyone at the E-Gambling Market with the news that gambling activities had been excluded from the range of the draft framework services directive during the European parliamentary session. The second news deals with the Decree of the French Government allowing FDJeux to act overseas through the Internet and to offer Internet users online lottery. At the same time the act issued in Italy on the 24th of February limits access to any foreign gambling site. Only the UK hasn’t refused from the 2005 act about gambling which will come into force in 2007, thus moving to regulation under control with the Gambling Act.
Such different polices of European states do not correspond to the idea of European unity, and its turn they demonstrate the increase of monopolies in the countries like France and Italy. This news could not be left unnoticed by the experts of AFJL® Advisory Committee.
Didier DEWYN – Chairman of EBA (European Betting Association) and Unibet vice-CEO) is sure that gambling has already become global, and it’s not certain that creation of monopolies will help to protect consumers. Being legal in 25 member states, only one this regulation – EU regulation – will guarantee consumers real protection.
Regarding the French Decree, Eric Bouhanna (founder of Adictel – addictive player regulation), for example, even applied to the Consultative Committee (its main goal is to advise the French budget minister on ruling the FDJeux games) with the purpose to become one of the three experts qualified with legal, social, economic and safety skills. Eric’s experience in the sphere of prevention of addictive players made it possible for him to submit his application. To note, the experts are to be chosen by the French budget minister.
Thibault VERBIEST – Lawyer bar of Paris & Brussels, specialized in NTIC, Media & Gambling – ULYS Law Firm expresses his opinion: “The French Decree dated earlier February 17 is just a catalogue of good willingness, without any real obligations & duties for the government. Indeed, the decree confirms that the FDJeux is not allowed to let minors under 16 to play (why not minors under 18?) and that the FDJeux product line must not incite to money laundering. The opposite way would have been surprising at least. About the consultative committee: this is a good idea; but it is just consultative. Good willingness is not enough for European Court of Justice; Europe will ask for genuine proves of formal gaming and gambling regulation. On top of that we can note that the FDJeux is now allowed to offer games abroad. How can the FDJeux not allow foreign operators to act on French Market?”