French stick to their guns on gambling law

The French Budget Minister, Eric Woerth, presented his draft law for the liberalisation of gambling to the Finance Committee of the French Parliament this week as planned, but his insistence on ignoring protests and refusing to change the maximum payout percentage ratio provisions will not go down well with operators or the European Commission, which found earlier this year that the draft did not comply with EU law (see previous InfoPowa report).

Media which had sight of the draft indicate that it maintains the 80 to 85 percent payout band originally included in March as part of the French government's controlled opening of the market originally planned for early 2010. The ratio will make many commercial operators wishing to enter the French market uncompetitive, they claim.

French political representatives will discuss the draft in September, probably meaning that the early enactment in 2010 may have to be extended to mid-year.

Woerth and his staff were more flexible on the proposed 2 percent tax on player wagers; this has been softened to a 2 percent tax on pots, with a maximum of Euro 1 per pot.

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