France has passed a new amendment to their law regulating online gaming which goes into effect next year. It forces online gaming operators to close out the accounts of their French players when the law takes effect. They will then have to apply for a license to open new accounts for French players 5 to 6 months later in May or June of 2010. The French government plans to issue licenses by June 2010, in time to coincide with thefootball World Cup in South Africa beginning that month.
Francaise des Jeux and Pari Mutuel Urbain, the two French monopolies, are not subject to the new amendment and thus will be able to continue opening new accounts during that time. The new law is still under debate in France’s National Assembly. It is expected to become law early in 2010.
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), which represents the European operators who will be adversely affected by the amendment, say that the amendment was passed to protect the French monopolies.
Sigrid Ligne’, Secretary General of EGBA, stated: “The measure is clearly anticompetitive and can be added to other similar elements of the regulation”. He further stated that the real intention of the amendment is to keep the EU licensed operators from being profitable in France.