This Wednesday, Aurélie FILIPETTI (Member of Parliament of the Parti socialiste – left-wing party -) Jean- François LAMOUR (Member of Parliament of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire – right-wing party -) have submitted to the Finance Committee of the French Parliament a report on the application of the law of May 12, 2010 on the “opening up to competition and regulation of the French online Gambling Market» a year after its enactment. This report should be followed in a couple of weeks by Senator Trucy’s report.
After four intensive months of interviewing stakeholders of the online gambling sector (Operators, doctors, lawyers, etc.), the two MPs have submitted twenty one proposals (fifteen of a legislative nature and six of a regulatory nature) intended to adjust the legal and regulatory framework applicable to online gambling.
However it should be noted that the drafters could not reach a consensus on certain issues. Accordingly, they have decided to introduce personal recommendations in addition to their twenty one proposals.
It is particularly interesting to note that taxation issues are comprised in the personal recommendations and not into the common proposals.
Betting right extended to horse betting, creation of a criminal offence of sports bribery, opening access to online poker tournaments authorised in France to players registered with licensed operators in European countries: the proposals made by the authors are likely to give rise to so much discussion!
- THE 15 PROPOSALS OF A LEGISLATIVE NATURE:
- Strengthening the auto-exclusion and moderation mechanisms;
- Strengthening the budgetary means and staff resources of the cyber patrol;
- Explicitly authorising the licensed horse betting operators to implement mechanisms to pool winnings between races;
- Opening access to online poker tournaments to players registered with an operator duly licensed in another Member-State of the European Union or in a country party to the European Economic Area provided that ARJEL has entered into a specific agreement with the regulators of such countries;
- Extending betting right to horse betting;
- Extending the provisions enabling ARJEL to determine the types of authorised competitions to offline sports betting;
- Prohibiting any person having a stake in a sport competition to provide sport forecasts sponsored by a betting operator, and/or to be in a contractual relationship with such operator (as a consultant or through a image rights agreement), and/or to have a direct financial interest in such operator;
- Creating a criminal offence of sports bribery;
- Imposing to lawful sports betting operators, online or offline, a substantial and functional separation between their activities of monitoring competitions and defining odds;
- Establishing ARJEL as a legal entity so as to be financially independent and have the right to initiate legal actions;
- Giving ARJEL’s executive committee authority to take conservatory measures, in the event of an immediate and serious infringement on the rules regulating the industry;
- Authorising ARJEL’s investigators to act with an alias to acknowledge illegal gambling offers;
- Systematically publishing the decisions made by ARJEL’s sanction committee, unless expressly provided to the contrary, in journals or materials set out by means of a regulatory decision (Arrêté);
- Systematically publishing the decisions to block websites, unless expressly provided to the contrary, in journals or materials set out by means of a regulatory decision (Arrêté);
- Paying intermunicipal associations, on the territory of which a racecourse is located, the portion of the tax currently paid to municipalities, provided that they shall be responsible for allocating the corresponding amounts to their members.
- PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS BY AURELIE FILIPPETTI :
- Increasing the contribution dedicated to Centres for Treatment, Assistance and Prevention of Addiction (CSAPA) ;
- Expressly prohibiting betting exchange ;
- Imposing to Operators, as it is the case in Belgium, the implementation of a maximum hourly loss rate (e.g : 70 Euros per hour);
- Imposing to all operators (gambling, lottery, sports and horse betting) to register the identity of players who purchase more than 2000 Euros of gambling tokens or when they want to obtain payment of their winnings , as it is already the case in casinos;
- Strengthening the resources allocated to TRACFIN (anti-money laundering unit).
- PERSONNAL LAW RECOMMENDATIONS BY JEAN-FRANÇOIS LAMOUR :
- Substituting, for online betting and gambling, to the tax based on bets, a tax based on the gross gambling revenue and adapting the tax rate to European standards ( by deducting a fixed rate of 20% of the gross gambling revenue) ;
- Assigning to each player a unique identification number, as it is the casein Italy which uses the mandatory tax identification number;
- Submitting paid skill games to the authority of the French online gambling Authority (ARJEL) and to a specific taxation.
- THE SIX PROPOSALS OF A REGULATORY NATURE:
- Excluding from the tax bas on gambling games the amounts stakes in poker when the player folded before seeing the flop;
- Amending the wording of the warning messages inserted on commercial and gambling websites. Ensuring a sufficient rotation of those messages by introducing different wordings;
- Requesting from the Gambling Observatory, reporting to the gambling Advisory Committee, to conduct an assessment survey on the illegal offers accessible to players from the French territory ;
- Launching as of 2011 a prevalence study on online gambling covering both the already authorised gambling activities (horse betting, sports betting and poker) and other online gambling activities (lotteries, scratch games, casino games);
- Speeding up the execution of agreements between the State and La Française des Jeux (FDJ) and between the State and le Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU);
- Defining in the Budget Bill (Projet de loi de finances) for 2012, some targets and indicators in the « Results » chapter of the budget provisions related to ARJEL loans.
- PERSONNAL RECOMMENDATIONS OF A REGULATORY NATURE BY JEAN-FRANÇOIS LAMOUR :
- Authorising every variation of poker in the scope of the law;
- Setting the redistribution rate at 90%;
- Authorising sports betting on friendly games counting for an international ranking;
- Authorising handicapped sports betting.