|A leading European gaming law expert believes that the door is far from shut on operators wishing to enter the French market despite the recent arrest of Unibet’s Petter Nylander and the Bwin situation earlier this year.|
Thibault Verbiest of Brussels-based law firm ULYS stated that France would take the lead ‘against all odds’ in the European Union (EU) over the next year and push for an open and competitive online gaming market.
“This should impact drastically the equilibrium of forces between the ‘conservative’ countries willing to defend their gaming monopolies at any cost and the ‘liberal countries’ in favour of a ‘gaming common market’,” said Verbiest.
However, he said that there are still hurdles to overcome to aid liberalisation of gaming and gambling legislation with a major issue being tax.
“As long as there is no harmonized tax regime in Europe, the tensions between members states when addressing the regulation of online gambling will remain strong,” said Verbiest.
“France will take over in June as President of the EU and might initiate a legislative process in this respect.”
Verbiest claimed that the forceful actions of French authorities in the past were misleading, as these have not always reflected the majority’s view.
“Some French judges, as opposed to the public attorneys, are independent and are allowed to continue their investigations against EU gaming operators even if the French Government disagrees and would like to put an end to those proceedings, but the peace-making process has started,” said Verbiest.