France adopts new gambling regulations ahead of FDJ privatisation

The French government has introduced new gambling regulations ahead of the planned privatisation next month of state-owned gaming and lottery operator FDJ.

The regulations give FDJ the exclusive right to operate lottery games in France, both in physical networks and online, as well as retail sports betting. FDJ will also be authorised to offer random number generator (RNG) games, something the country’s land-based casino and gaming industry had opposed.

The new rules also prohibit any operator other than FDJ from exploiting the results of lottery games without the prior authorisation of FDJ, a move designed to combat lottery betting providers.

Both exclusive rights to lottery games and retail sports betting cover a 25-year period and are subject to a payment by FDJ to the state by June 30th, 2020, although the price for the exclusive rights is yet to be decided.

The regulations also create a new independent administrative authority in the form of the National Gambling Authority (L’autorité nationale des jeux - ANJ) to regulate all gambling activities, land-based and online.

It will be composed on nine members who will be appointed for a term of six years, with the French president appointing the president of the new regulatory authority. The French Assembly and Senate leaders will each appoint one member, male and female, with a further six members appointed by decree, three men and three women.

The French government plans to decrease its stake in FDJ next month from the current shareholding of 72 per cent to around 20 per cent while retaining close supervision over the operator.

The new regulations will come into force on January 1st, 2020.

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