French gambling market is officially liberalised

French regulator issues first 17 online gambling licenses

Ending many months of anticipation, speculation and debate, the French gambling market became officially liberalised Tuesday when regulator ARJEL granted 17 licenses to 11 operators just 3 days before the start of the football World Cup in South Africa.

Quoting from a decree published in the Official Journal, the Agence France Presse news service reported that three types of online bets are covered by the new dispensation: for horse racing, betting on organised sports events and online poker.

ARJEL said operators with a licence for football or sporting bets could start their activities as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday, in time for the World Cup, while the third category – online poker - would get under way at the end of the month following a complaint by Malta to the European Commission (see previous InfoPowa report).

The liberalisation ends 471 years of state monopoly on gambling established by an edict of King Francois I in 1539. Since then gambling has been under the authority of the state which delegated its monopoly to casinos, the national lottery and horse racing body the PMU.

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