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Regulated European Online Gambling Could Soon Reach French ShoresJoin to learn how the European online casino market could soon expand thanks to France's regulation and licensing of online games of chance.
Only a few European Union members have actively sought to halt the licensing and adoption of online games of chance within their borders. Despite their reputation for allowing their passions to guide them, France has resisted regulating online casinos in direct opposition to the widespread support it receives from the local gambling community.
Time and Tide Wait for No Man
Last week, Philippe Latombe of the Democratic Movement party introduced a bill to the local legislature that could end the drought of online casino entertainment that has scourged the French market for so long.
Bill number 1248 was “Registered at the Presidency of the National Assembly on May 23, 2023” and is described as follows:Quote
“LAW PROPOSITION: aimed at authorising casino operators to offer online casino games, the marketing, commissioning and maintenance of which are carried out under the responsibility of the supply and maintenance companies.”
The annotation that was submitted alongside the bill explains that:Quote
“Bill no. 1248 aimed at authorising casino operators to offer online casino games, the marketing, commissioning and maintenance of which are carried out under the responsibility of supply and maintenance companies.”
This is fantastic news for online casinos, which have long been interested in entering the French market but could only do so with proper licensing. The annotation confirms that the government seeks to create an open market, multi-license jurisdiction, not part of a state-owned monopoly.
Seeking a Level-Playing Field
One of the main catalysts behind the directive to have Bill 1248 written into power is that the government is seen as playing favourites in the online gambling sector.
The bill states:Quote
“While there is historically a strong gambling tradition in France, the French legal framework for gambling remains very restrictive. Even if legislative changes have emerged, particularly in 2010, with the opening up to online sports betting, horse racing or even poker, the legislative and regulatory framework that applies to casinos is still very restrictive.”
This specific prohibition of online casinos is brought under fire throughout the bill. It also continues to outline how the French public is shifting increasingly towards the digital landscape for everything ranging from shopping to business to gambling.
It is time for the government to treat its citizens as informed and self-aware adults. Not babes needing to be led by the hand. Much of this enhanced technology adoption was due to the restrictions enforced during the pandemic, and no increase in gambling harm was noted during that very trying period.
This proves that the local regulators know how to manage a vibrant online gambling marketplace and that customers are able to make informed decisions that do not lead to harm.
Beware the Poison Apple
The bill also goes to great pains to highlight the danger that black market online casinos pose to the French online gambling community. The National Gaming Authority (ANJ) claims that up to 2.2 million French players gamble at unregulated providers each year.Quote
“These offshore sites, often insecure and fraudulent, accessible from a French territory, in particular, thanks to camouflage technologies, are in addition to being cyber threats, a real challenge for our digital sovereignty.”
As unlicensed entities, these operators are under no compulsion to ensure that the casino community receives the level of care, support, and protection that the ANJ would demand from casinos is oversaw.
While players might see these sites as offering them the entertainment they want, there is a real danger that without proper age verification, deposit limits, loss limits, self-exclusion programs and financial commitment to honouring withdrawals, the player is at risk of being defrauded.
New World, New Laws
While those who proposed the bill acknowledge that many avenues could be followed to block gambling sites, such as IP restrictions and banking measures, the world's digitisation is making those tools less effective each day.
The bill notes:Quote
“The ban in force against online casinos is therefore reaching its limits, even if the authorities try to identify and block illegal sites using court orders.”
It, therefore, proposes that the French government earnestly consider creating a licensed gambling market where the state can vet the operators its citizens join, generate multiple new revenue streams, keep French gambling-related spending in-house, and ensure the protection of its citizens.
The proposal includes a five-year moratorium that will allow locally licensed gambling operators to be the first to venture into the online casino space to “safeguard national sovereignty, thanks to an asymmetrical regulation, allowing the structuring of an innovative national offer of online casino games”.
This would allow the local market time to develop and mature, with international offshore operators launching in France on January 1st, 2030.
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