France Finally Opens Doors to E.U.

Published Thursday, March 05, 2009 -

Today in Paris, Eric Woerth, France's budget minister hosted a press conference that shed some light on the French Government's intentions for the future of online gambling.

Efforts by the European Commission to bring France into line and allow the operators of online gambling establishments within the E.U. jurisdictions to compete with state monopolies today found some success.

Sportsbetting has been the focus pushing France towards a resolution of the long standing conflict.

The issue of sponsorship of sports teams by operators will be discussed and it is thought that control technology for all electronic data, financial transactions and levying of taxes will be initiated. The liberalization of the French market concerns pool betting for horse racing and fixed-odds bets on other sports such as football or tennis, online poker, and casino games are also involved.

The European Commission has had infringement proceedings underway against ten member nations with monopolistic or protectionist gambling policies. Besides France, Sweden and Greece, the European commission also has had cases against Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy and the Netherlands. After Denmark, Finland and Hungary replied to the European Commission's written request for information, the European Commission resolved their cases.

France's Eric Woerth shared the tax structure at today's announcement which will accompany a bill to open up online gambling. Woerth said he foresees a 2% tax on online poker, and a 7.5% tax on sports and horse racing.

By the end of March or early April the proposed gaming bill will be presented to ministers. It is likely to be voted on before the 2009 summer parliamentary recess. Woerth added that the opening up of the online gambling market should come into effect Jan. 1, 2010. It is expected that licenses will be awarded to operators for a five year-period.

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