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One Small Step for France

7 July 2008

France's government has completed another significant step in the process of opening the country to remote gambling following the June 26 delivery of a report titled "Jeux en ligne et menace criminelle," or "Online games and criminal threats," to Eric Woerth, the country's budget minister.

Requested by Mr. Woerth only a month and a half ago, the report was completed by a commission headed by Alain Bauer, a criminologist who presides over the French National Crime Commission.

Mr. Bauer's team was asked to examine a report constructed by Bruno Durieux, a civil servant, and to consider what technical measures could bring Mr. Durieux's recommendations into force.

Mr. Durieux's report, for reference, provides recommendations as to how to accommodate and regulate an online gambling market in France.

Mr. Bauer's team, meanwhile, focused on identifying potential risks of criminal activity associated with remote gambling and advised ways to limit them.

The Bauer report, as it is being called in the French press, calls for the creation of a new regulator for betting and gaming that would have the authority to conduct software and systems audits of remote gambling operators.

Under such a framework, licensed operators would necessarily have to maintain gaming servers in France so that they could be subject to audits. The report also advises that only competent, experienced companies be permitted to operate.

The suggestion is that the government require operators to have at least seven years of experience in a gambling business before awarding them a license to operate remote games in France.

To limit identify theft and money laundering, a relatively stringent process for player registration is proposed.

Players would be required to provide the details of a French personal bank account upon registration. A PIN number needed to access games would then be shipped to the bank account holder's registered physical address.

The report also notes that a system that monitors and blocks unauthorized financial transactions is more efficient in enforcement than is a system that monitors and blocks I.P. addresses of unauthorized gambling Web sites, such as was enacted in 2006 in France but has not been fully integrated yet.

Other recommendations in the Bauer report include the development of rules for sharing information about suspicious betting activity with European and sport regulatory bodies.

The report also advises the development of systems to limit access by problem gamblers and suggests that the government inform players of the difference between licensed and unlicensed sites, noting that players run the risk of fraud if they wager with sites that are not licensed in France.

Mr. Woerth will now consider the recommendations of the Bauer report before presenting to Parliament legislation designed to open the market to remote gambling.

It is anticipated that Mr. Woerth shall deliver legislation this fall, or at least before the end of the year.

The goal remains to open the market, on a gradual basis, beginning in the second half of 2009.

For our French-speaking readers, a copy of the government's press release is available here.

One Small Step for France is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Bradley Vallerius

Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com
Bradley Vallerius
Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com