June 18, 2010

BetClic CEO: French authorities to toughen up on gambling law

With new French gambling laws now firmly in place and punters presumably enjoying the freedom of betting on World Cup games and poker legally, all that remains to be seen is how France’s authorities might react to now-illegal operators within the country. At least one CEO guesses that crackdowns will be coming soon.

Speaking yesterday on a panel at an online gaming industry conference known as EGR Live, BetClic CEO Nicolas Beraud stated emphatically that he is “waiting for the first actions today” from French law enforcement – though no such action was reported as happening. Beraud went on to state that French authorities had been telling “us for two years that they will be very aggressive with illegal operators and they will pursue and block them very quickly.”

Beraud and other experts have said that the expected punishment would involve advertising bans on unlicensed sportsbooks, poker rooms and online casinos in France.

Beraud went on to cite Italy as an example of an attempted failure to simply firewall off the offending websites.

Echoing an industry view, Beraud said that the main reason online casino operators might try to do business in France despite the new regulations was because of exorbitant tax rates. British bookmakers William Hill and Betfair announced their departure from the French market, citing unfair taxation practices.

The sweeping changes to gambling laws in France were put into effect on June 11, opening the French market to government-licensed foreign-based online gambling sites.

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