Industry companies gear up for liberalisation

Reports in the French daily newspaper Le Monde suggest that several well known industry companies, including Betclick, Unibet, and Bwin are already active with French associates in gearing up for the liberalisation of the French online and land gambling market, expected by most observers to occur in 2010.

In mainly promotional and advertising activities designed to raise profile, the companies are reported to have teamed with established French companies like the state monopoly Francaise des Jeux and Tour de France operator Amaury in sponsoring a variety of sporting and other events on a wide range of regional media. It appears that French officials, aware of imminent changes, have so far adopted an understanding if 'unofficial' more enlightened position than was the case in the past.

Unibet was reported to have committed Euro 1 million in deals for the coming year, with an option to renew. The company is already partnering with the Paris Saint-Germain football club, with an option to have its brand name on the back of the players’ shirts next season.

Le Monde reports that Betclick will be the official shirt sponsor of the Olympique de Marseille football club for 2009-2010, and is the official betting partner for Saint-Etienne.

Sensitive to the challenges of competition ahead, FdeJ has reportedly ramped up promotional spending in multi million franc deals, including its own FDJ-sponsored poker team, clearly with one eye on Bwin and Unibet, which have teamed up with the Le Parisien and Metro publications to promote poker events.

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