France Agrees to Controlled Opening of Gaming Sector

France is reported to start issuing authorization for online betting operators from the second half of 2009. The decision followed the meeting between Budget Minister Eric Woerth and International Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy where they discussed proposals that would avert court action against France by the EU over restrictions on online gambling.

Whether legal proceeding will be suspended, it’s not clear yet. The French government should send detailed provisions to EU authorities. To notice, the share of revenues from the gambling sector has been put at 5.3 billion euros ($8.27 billion).

“Regarding horse racing, only parimutuel betting will be allowed,” Woerth said. The term “pari-mutuel” refers to the system in which the total sum bet on a race is placed in a pool and the final prize is not set until all bets are placed.

“For other forms of sports betting, we will hold discussions with leagues and federations. There, we will not have parimutuel betting but fixed odds betting,” he said. (Fixed odds betting is a system in which the prize is agreed before bets are placed.). Woerth added: “We also want to open up casino games like poker but also roulette or black jack.

Woerth said: “Licenses would require minors to be prevented from betting and would contain strong protection for gamblers given the risk of addiction, as well as restrictions on advertising and controls against money laundering”.

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About Mark Newman

Mark Newman - was born in 1971 in Pictou, a town located on the beautiful Northumberland Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. In 1998 he graduated from Acadia University (Nova Scotia, Wolfville) with the Master’s degree in social studies. Mark simply adores his wife and sons. Considers poker to be one of the most exquisite kinds of art and rarely misses his chance of practicing.