French National Assembly votes to legalize online gaming
As first reported on by pokerpages.com, France is moving towards a regulated online poker industry. In what appears to be a global effort to regulate the online gaming industry, the French National Assembly passed a controversial bill on Monday that will now make its way to the French Senate. The bill seeks to regulate the online gaming industry and is laden with stipulations and amendments.
France has been under pressure to open up its market to outside competition –an allegation the US has faced as well—which would appear to violate the WTO trade agreements.
Two key points of contention are the following amendments:
1. The bill limits licensing to corporations that do not operate, or have subsidiaries, in tax haven countries.
2. The bill calls for all companies seeking a license to cancel any current accounts held by French players for a minimum of 6 months.
Both amendments have drawn fire from critics who feel the bill will actually solidify the French companies’ monopoly, as well as restrict competition from entering the market. France earns an estimated 5 billion Euros each year from Internet gambling (which is currently monopolized by two French sites).
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