French minister puts the brakes on online gambling ads

Media reports last week that online gambling companies interested in the soon-to-regulated French Internet sector were already advertising in the region (see previous InfoPowa report) have been followed by the news that the French government has called a halt to the premature promotions.

French media reports this week indicate that France's Minister for the Budget, Eric Woerth has fired a shot across the bows of several online companies, warning them that the new French dispensation is not yet in place and will not be so until 2010, and that advertising aimed at French gamblers is therefore premature and should be stopped.

After some initial resistance, it appears that the companies concerned have pulled their adverts in compliance with the French requirement, perhaps concerned that defiance may prejudice subsequent efforts to obtain French online gambling licensing once the market has been opened up.

The move gives the current monopolies Francaise des Jeux and the PMU a continuing advantage, although Woerth has suggested that they should be sensitive to the situation and avoid advertising.

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