French casinos make demands on FDJ sale

France’s casino industry has voiced concerns about the planned privatisation of French state-owned lottery, gaming and sports betting operator Francaise des Jeux (FDJ), and the range of games that the privatised operator will be permitted to offer.

In an open letter to the government, the country’s casino trade union ‘Casinos de France’ has asked for the government to clarify exactly what forms of gambling a privatised FDJ may offer.

The trade union, which represents staff working across forty French private/independent casino operators, states that FDJ’s sale must not include any terms allowing its buyer offer casino games to customers, particularly slot-type games offered online and via terminals in FDJ’s retail network of over 30,000 points of sale.

It noted that with FDJ likely to be subject to a different tax rate and regulatory obligations, this could significantly distort competition, not to mention put players at risk if it was allowed to offer slot games without significant regulatory oversight.

“A decline in the gross proceeds of French casinos – which amounted to €2.3bn in 2018 – caused by this potential new competition would heavily impact the local economies of tourist communities,” the letter explained.

‘Casinos de France’ closes its statement by detailing that it will challenge any threat to France’s land-based casino sector, reminding of the employment, commercial and cultural benefits of French Casinos.

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