June 2, 2010 (CAP News Wire) – The new online gaming laws in France have kicked in effective yesterday, June 1, although as of yet, no official approvals for new online gaming licenses have been announced.

Still, regulators in that Western European country (which may or may not be one of the biggest online gaming markets in the world) are stating that licenses will likely be awarded before the World Cup kicks off in just over a week.

Microgaming and 888 have been publicizing their dual application for a new online gambling license in France, which they hope to be the first one awarded. PartyGaming and bwin are also reportedly making pushes into the new market.

Other companies aren’t as optimistic, however, and actually foresee problems with the strict regulations arising from the new French iGaming laws. Many aren’t happy with the “fact that this new bill passed with 299 votes against 233 shows that the France parliament had many voices that were not sure this is a great idea but it was enough to approve it,” iFreshNews states insightfully if a bit awkwardly.

Sportingbet has also commented on the looming changes in the French market, stating that it would likely have “a negligible impact in the current financial year, but would weigh on earnings next year, with Sportingbet unlikely to meet the new regulations until early in 2011,” according to Reuters.

“In the next financial year, the process required to comply with French regulation will take some time, which along with the permanent loss of casino revenues and high taxes will have a more material impact,” Sportingbet company officials was quoted in the Reuters article.

Meanwhile, online betting giant William Hill has announced that it’s pulling out of the French market altogether, saying that “following the introduction of new laws relating to online gambling in France, it’s taking steps to cease accepting online gambling business from clients resident in France,” according to MarketWatch, which adds: “William Hill Online is considering whether to apply for a licence to offer permitted online gambling products to French residents.”


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