UK online gambling sites have been closed as a result of a new French web betting law.
Since early June, only 11 websites approved by French gambling regulators Arjel can operate legally in France, including Betclic, Bwin, the PMU and the Française des Jeux. Both Betfair and William Hill have stopped taking bets from France while they consider their positions.
Betfair has setup a petition to challenge the policy, claiming that EU citizens should be able to gamble on any EU site – see www.right2bet.net/fr
The government hopes that regulating online gambling will make it easier to fight money-laundering, keep minors out of the market and protect consumers from addiction.
The regulated websites must have .fr domain names and have headquarters within the European Economic Area.
Some expats have complained that their accounts with UK-based agencies have been closed.
William Hill has said it is considering establishing a recognised French operation to stay within the rules.
An Arjel spokeswoman said: “French gamblers can only bet on websites which have been approved by us. Other websites are considered illegal.
“Arjel can take measures to intervene against illegal websites, stop them being referenced on the web, block their access and if necessary refer the matter to the budget minister to block the cashflow between players and illegal websites.”
The law will apply to online poker sites from June 28.