Malta-licensed operator is gearing up to go after the French market once it opens up

One Internet casino operator with an eye on the hopefully-soon-to-be liberated French online gambling market appears to be Malta-licensed Chili Gaming.

The company has announced the signing of an agreement with the French telecoms group Iliad, which operates the internet service provider Free in France.

Iliad is a tempting partner, having a subscriber base in excess of 4.2 million and a reach of 12 million users, and Chilli is aiming to leverage the agreement to gain entry to the French market once opened, initially with its Chilli Poker offering followed by betting and bingo facilities before the end of the year.

Chilli CEO Alexandre Dreyfus, commented: "We have been looking to partner with a major group for some time in order to move onto the French market in the best conditions. We are not marketing our products in France at the moment out of respect for the regulatory situation there. But as soon as the market opens up, we will be able to make use of the marketing and technical firepower provided by Free."

Dreyfus stressed that Iliad has not taken a stake in Chili Gaming. "It will be a joint offer for poker and sports bets with Chilipoker- and Chilibet-branded products," he said.

The potential for other delivery platforms through Iliad is also considerable, says Dreyfus. The service has a range of cable and satellite TV packages for the French market and 2.5 million of its 4.5 million subscribers pay for its high capacity IPTV service, for which Chili Gaming will develop a range of gaming products in partnership with its platform provider Playtech. Iliad is also in the process of obtaining a 3G licence which multiplies business opportunities. The telecomm group's turnover grew 29 percent in 2008 to Euro1.5 billion.

Chili Gaming recorded net gaming revenues of $8 million through 2008.

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