FRENCH REGS PROGRESS Practical requirements a feature of new approach to online gambling Since agreeing with the European Commission to liberalise its gambling markets (see previous InfoPowa reports), France is making steady progress in drafting proposed regulatory requirements for submission to the European Commission, local media reported this week. Apparently a major contributor to the process has been the French National Crime Commission headed by Alain Bauer, which has helped the drafters with guidelines that include the creation of a suitably staffed and empowered regulatory and enforcement body with access to licensee gaming servers to facilititate monitoring and professional auditing. Licensees will be required to provide information on demand to regulators, and precautions against "insider trading" will be incorporated in the requirements. It is understood that another requirement before experienced licensees will be accepted will be a documented and confirmed track record of at least seven years as a corporate entity, and that full and complete disclosure on management, investors and shareholders will be mandatory. Owners and operational management will also be subjected to stringent background checks. Following what are believed to be similar requirements being framed by the South African regulators, players will have to pre-register with official personal and banking identification, and will only be able to play after providing a personal identification number. Strict anti-underage or problem gambling access will be a priority. France has undertaken to work with the European Commission in framing and introducing the regulations next year.