French Online Gambling Wants Self Regulation

Published Monday, June 08, 2009 -

Online Media Group "Geste" has announced the adoption of two responsible gambling charters, before French authorities implement legislation regarding the actions of online gambling operators. "Geste" or Groupement des Editeurs de Services en Ligne, is an organisation founded in 1987 with the aim of creating and maintaining, favourable economic and legislative conditions for the development of online services and publications. Its focus has been to advance social concerns to the top of the agenda.

The opening up of the France's gaming market is expected in May 2010 and many European online gambling operators are looking for a piece of the action. Geste created a commission to study online gaming earlier this year and the two charters are a result of the commissions work.

Ensuring the development of a viable and socially responsible legal gaming offer in France is the main aim of the two charters. The first relates to the identification of customers, management of problem gambling, and minors on the operator's sites. The second component of the charter defines the rules for promotion of online gambling products.

Geste specifies that the two charters are for those companies that will have a licence in France after legalization. The first charter asks operators " using their best efforts to authenticate the identity and age of players on the site whilst at the same time respecting their right to privacy," thus ensuring that minors are prohibited from playing.

The charter states, "that the player, in order to definitively open an account, sends a photocopy of an ID document as well as proof of address in France or any other measure giving the same level of verification". The second part refers to the promotion of online gaming. Specifically, operators will refrain from "proposing unreasonable acquisition or loyalty offers" and from "offering manifestly disproportionate bonuses". Companies are also expected to take all necessary steps to prevent gamblers becoming addicted and to protect the vulnerable.

It is clear that with so many offshore operators involved in the organisation the move to adopt a policy for responsible and controlled gambling will show the French government lawmakers that these operators want to be part of the process of regulation. The secondary aim is to send a message to the government that the industry can self-regulate without the need for heavy-handed legislation.

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