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New French online poker and betting legislation: Constitutional Council not competent to assess compliance with EU rules


14 May 2010



In a decision adopted today upon a request lodged by more than 60 members of the French Parliament, the French Constitutional Council today recognized that it is not competent to assess whether a new French law on online gaming and betting is compliant with EU law (see link).

The bill and various draft implementing decrees notified to the services of the European Commission have already triggered through detailed opinions heavy criticism and strong warnings against the new French legal framework due to issues of compliance with EU law (see link 1, 2 and 3). 

The EGBA welcomes the decision made by the French authorities to move from a monopoly to a licensing approach but regrets that it continues to ignore the cross border and digital nature of the market. Under the new French law, well-established EU operators will be forced to comply with local requirements which duplicate controls and guarantees already in place damaging user experience and undermining certain security measures.

According to the EGBA, if promulgated by the French President Sarkozy, this law will introduce severe distortion of competition and disproportionate market restrictions without any added value in terms of sports integrity and consumer protection.

Sigrid Ligné, Secretary General of the EGBA “experience in other countries has shown that overly restrictive regulations do not provide efficient protection and tend to expose players to unregulated websites based outside EU jurisdiction”.

She adds “The French miss an opportunity to put an end to the legal uncertainty that has prevailed in the last 4 years due to the inconsistency of the existing legislation with EU law. After years of litigation and particularly intensive parliamentary debates we are today back to square one”.

If operators have announced their intention to apply for a license in France they will do so in a context of great legal and business uncertainty. Finally, it is the French player who will be losing out due to an unattractive and uncompetitive national offering.

For more information, please visit or call Sigrid Ligne: +32 2256 7527


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