|In France, Budget Minister Eric Woerth has announced that the Government of President Nicolas Sarkozy is looking to open the market to gambling firms from elsewhere in the European Union next year or by the start of 2010.|
Woerth told French daily newspaper Le Parisien that he expects the Government to complete plans this year regarding a test phase in 2009 or 2010 and that private betting providers licensed to operate under French regulations will be subject to the same conditions and tax policies as Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU), the current monopoly betting operator.
”It is up to the President and the Prime Minister to decide but my feeling is that you shouldn't rush things,' said Woerth.
'In 2008, we should be able to spell things out and then, should it happen, launch an experimental period in 2009, the beginning of 2010.'
In the past, President Sarkozy has signalled its willingness to introduce a ’controlled opening’ of the sector in the face of European Commission pressure. The Commission ruled that a planned law obliging banks to block payments on behalf of online betting firms and restrict gaming firms from elsewhere in the European Union violated of its rules on free movement of services in the bloc.
Woerth said that France was not caving in to the European Union but moving towards a new model that made sense in the light of changes in the world of gaming.