Online gambling: Finnish and French models. Virve Pöysti University of Helsinki Department of Social Research

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1 Online gambling: Finnish and French models

2 Online gambling in Europe - Three models of online gambling in Europe ( No online gambling markets Finland, Sweden, Portugal, Slovenia, Czech Republic Partly deregulated online gambling markets France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria, Spain, Ireland, Austria, Cyprus, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Germany, Denmark, Hungary Fully or almost fully deregulated online gambling markets UK, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia, Estonia

3 Online gambling in Finland (1) - In principle only online gambling offered by monopolistic gambling providers allowed (RAY, Veikkaus, Fintoto) - Online versions of offline games - RAY online casino also offers poker and other casino games (

4 Online gambling in Finland (2) - However, no legislative means to ban overseas online casino offer in Finland. - Online gambling on foreign sites is not illegal and any wins can be cashed in. - Promoting online gambling offered by others than the Finnish actors is illegal. - Online casino offer in Finnish by PAF and countless overseas providers (63 counted in 2010)

5 Gambling in France La française des Jeux State owned company (72% ownership) Traditional monopoly provider of lotteries and betting on sports Pari mutuel urbain State controlled economic interest group composed of 51 racing authorities Traditional monopoly of betting on horses Private casinos 196 casinos in France, largest groups Partouche (45 casinos) and Barrière (33 casinos) Sole providers of EGMs and casino games

6 Situation before Online versions of traditional games available on the websites of PMU and FDJ (lotteries, scratch cards, betting on horses). - Action against overseas providers: 2005: Zeturf vs. PMU 2006: Bwin arrests following a complaint made by FDJ 2007: A law forbidding advertisement of unauthorised gambling provision in France. Violators are subject to fines and a block of financial transactions. 2009: FDJ challenges overseas competition (e.g., Betclic, Bwin) by opening an online sports betting service.

7 The law of 2010 (1) - Law , partially opens the online gambling market to operators from other EU countries. - Passed due to EC request to open the market. - The law aims at: Opening online gambing markets to competition by granting publicly controlled licenses. Increasing the offer of online gambling by legalising new games (poker) Channelling illegal gambling to authorised websites. Protecting consumers (preventing problem and excessive gambling)

8 The law of 2010 (2) - Three types of licenses granted: Online sports betting Online horse race betting Online poker - Games that remain illegal: Online casinos (other table games besides poker) Online EGMs Spread betting Lotteries and scratch cards for other providers than FDJ - According to the lawmakers, these games remain illegal due to their addictive nature. Poker is legalised since it is considered partly a game of skill.

9 The law of 2010 (3) - Any licensed operator is subject to: A tax of 7.5 % on all bets placed on sports or horse race betting services and a tax of 2 % on all bets placed in poker. Have a French address. Prevent problem gambling.

10 New operators - Currently 19 authorised operators with a total of 50 websites proposing gambling ( - Number of providers is going down (26 in 2012) - Traditional operators: Authorité de Regulation des Jeux en Ligne - And new providers (including):

11 Measures of control - ARJEL (l Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne) authority designed to regulate online gambling (2010) Licenses online gambling providers (5 year licenses) Defines the technical and legal obligations of operators. Control over authorised providers. Ŕevokes licenses when required Fight against illegal online gambling provision - Obligations of consumer protection imposed on providers: Registration of all users, age limit of 18. Limitations of accounts. Some (FDJ) also use Playscan

12 Illegal online gambling? (1) - About % of online gambling still occurs on illegal sites (senat.fr) - Penalties imposed on unauthorised providers offering services in France: A possibility of 3 years of imprisonment and a fine of (or more if organised crime). - Fine for advertising a unauthorised provider ( minimum). -Blocking financial transactions of unauthorised sites in France or preventing access to unauthorised sites from French IP addresses.

13 Illegal online gambling? (2)

14 Since the law of Positive feedback from the European Union: Consumers have more choice. A legal alternative to illegal online gambling. - But also criticism: Small online operators: The system benefits national and big operators. Brick-and-mortar casinos losing clientele. Authorised operators: Costs of offering legal gambling too high to compete with illegal offer. Low return percentages (85 %), limited offer of games. Some providers have relinquished their online activities as unprofitable (Partouche).

15 Popularity - Online poker: Initial success but popularity has since declined. - Sports betting: slow start but improvement since Horse race betting is stagnating. -The traditional providers persist are even the great benefitors from the law of Profits of PMU and FDJ rising. Lähde: Le Figaro 7/2/2012

16 Conclusion: The French model and Finland? - Following the law of 2010, online gambling markets in France have been partially opened to outside providers. - The change has had more political than market impact: FDJ and PMU maintain their positions as market leaders. - Is it neccessary to fear the end of gambling monopolies in Finland? Or would the French example indicate that consumers remain loyal to traditional providers? - All consequences of the reform in France cannot yet be known. But following the French situation may offer interesting alternatives to Finnish online gambling policies.

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