More than 60 French members of parliament who requested the French Constitutional Council to rule on the country’s new online gambling laws received a rebuff this week when the Council acknowledged that it is not competent to assess whether the new laws are compliant with European Union law and requirements.
In publishing the Council’s decision, the European Gaming and Betting Association, a trade association for online gambling groups in the region, said that whilst it welcomed the French move away from state monopolised gambling, it remains concerned at the French disregard for the cross border and digital nature of the market.
Under the new French law, well-established EU operators will be forced to comply with local requirements which unnecessarily duplicate controls and guarantees already in place, damaging user experience and undermining acceptable security measures.
EGBA fears that the new law will introduce “severe distortion of competition and disproportionate market restrictions without any added value in terms of sports integrity and consumer protection.”
EGBA secretary general Sigrid Ligné says: “Experience in other countries has shown that overly restrictive regulations do not provide efficient protection and tend to expose players to unregulated websites based outside [the reach of] EU jurisdiction.
“The French miss an opportunity to put an end to the legal uncertainty that has prevailed in the last 4 years due to the inconsistency of the existing legislation with EU law. After years of litigation and particularly intensive parliamentary debates we are today back to square one”.
If operators have announced their intention to apply for a license in France they will do so in a context of great legal and business uncertainty, the secretary general opines.
“Finally, it is the French player who will be losing out due to an unattractive and uncompetitive national offering.”
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