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France Grants Internet Gambling Licenses

June 9, 2010 (CAP News Wire)After a bit of a delay, France has granted 17 online betting licenses to 11 operators, officially implementing the new Internet gambling laws that were passed last year.

The licenses were primarily aimed at the online sports betting market, and include “Austria’s Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG’s and BetClic Enterprises Ltd. of Malta,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Other online gambling companies focused more on Internet poker (like PartyGaming and a joint effort from 888 and Microgaming) have not yet received French iGaming licensure. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t, in due time. Other licenses may be announced in the coming weeks; French authorities has indicated they wanted to push through the first round of licensees before the World Cup began. It’s expected that the government will eventually announce new licensees that are focused more on Internet poker than online betting.

The Wall Street Journal discusses larger European trends in online gambling, as related to the opening of the French market: “Under pressure from the European Commission, France has followed the lead of Italy and issued online betting licenses to private companies. Spain and Denmark could soon follow suit with a similar system.”

“A decree published in the Official Journal said three types of bets were concerned: on horse racing, betting on organised sports events and taking part in games like poker,” adds the Associated Press.

“The Authority for Online Gaming Regulation (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 would get under way at the end of the month.”

Per EGR Magazine, the full list of licensed operators includes BetClic, Beturf, BES SAS (Bwin’s French subsidiary), Bwin/Amaury Groupe, EverestPoker, France Pari, La Française des Jeux, Iliad Gaming/ChiliGaming, Pari Mutuel Urbain, SPS Betting, and Table 14