Web gambling law may miss World Cup

Plan to legalise betting sites looks unlikely to be passed in time for next summer's football tournament, senator says

19 November 2009

PLANS to open up French gambling legislation to include websites look set to be delayed, meaning the reform might not be passed in time for the next summer’s World Cup.

The plan to license online operators offering sporting bets, horse racing and poker has been approved by MPs in the National Assembly but it is unlikely to pass the Senate until the end of March and will take three months after that to come into effect, according to La Tribune.

It was originally hoped that gambling sites would be legalised in time for June’s football World Cup in South Africa, a huge money-making event that would help boost tax revenue.

The proposed law means web firms would have to get a licence to operate in France even if they already hold licences elsewhere in the EU. At the moment, only the Française des Jeux, PMU and casinos can offer gambling services legally.

The government hopes that making online gambling legal will make it easier to fight money-laundering, keep minors out of the market and protect consumers from addiction.

However senator François Trucy told La Tribune that parts of the law could be rewritten because there was a feeling that it did not go far enough to give health bodies the means to treat and prevent addiction.

Related stories:
Online gambling plans scrutinised

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