Partouche group is not waiting for France to open up its poker market

The information portal Online Casino Topic reports that the owners of French online gambling sites are getting set to start fighting French opponents who do not want them to launch online casino and poker websites.

In October, live casino operators were "extremely vocal" at a government organised conference at which the liberalisation of the French market was discussed. One gambling group owner, Patrick Partouche of the French casino company Partouche Group which is the parent company of the Cyprus-based online poker site Poker770, said that since no one at the conference had bothered to listen to his opinion, he would act instead of sitting around and waiting.

Partouche was possibly smarting from a punitive action against his online poker website by French authorities which saw a Euro 40 000 fine being levied against the company, along with a 12 month prison sentence suspension.

Partouche wants to take advantage of the online poker possibilitites as well as his licence to operate land gambling casinos in France, for which he pays dearly - 58 percent taxation. Partouche Group has the capability and technology, and Partouche feels it is unfair that he cannot compete with other online gambling companies.

The latest news is that Partouche is moving ahead rapidly with a Gibraltar licence initiative. He has pointed out that there are many Internet gaming sites like Unibet and Bwin that are offering the French public online action regardless of the current law, which is in the process of being changed, citing EU law precedence. Consequently, he intends to position his enterprise to compete without awaiting the evolution of the slow French bureaucratic process to open the market.

In his latest statement, the French budget minister, Eric Woerth, said that it could be end 2009 or beginning 2010 before liberalisation commenced. And recently it was announced that European Union members states would discuss the "harmonisation" of EU regulations on gambling at a meeting on December 1st (see previous InfoPowa report) which could cause further delays.

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