French Casino Operators Require Special Conditions for the FDJ Sale to Protect the Integrity of Their Services

A group of land-based casinos in France has addressed the Government urging it to give the green light to the proposed takeover of Francaise des Jeux (FDJ), the state-owned gambling and lottery operator, by imposing certain terms which do not hurt national casino operators in any way.

The casino group is represented by the local casino trade union Casinos de France, which supports casino workers who are employed at forty independent or private French casino companies including Tranchant, Groupe Barrière and Partouche. Currently, it claims that no conditions, under which the casino trade union’s customers are allowed to offer Article-D (321-13) games, must be included in the sale of FDJ.

Under the provisions of the existing French gambling legislation, Article-D games refer to inventory and slot machines which are normally offered at casinos. However, the code does not make a clear difference between online and land-based games, which could cause some problems. In addition, these games are currently categorized as “difficult material” no matter what player percentage payouts are.

The casinos also asked for the competent authorities to clarify the conditions under which the privatized FDJ games could be offered. As previously revealed, if market conditions are favorable, the En Marche Government plan to privatize the FDJ by the end of 2019. Currently, a 72% stake in Francaise des Jeux is owned by the country.

Local Casinos Represent about 23% of France’s Legal Gambling Market

The organization representing the group of casinos has addressed the Government, claiming that it is specified in its terms of sale that FDJ buyers are not allowed to offer content on so-called “difficult games” across the terminals of Francaise des Jeux and its retail point network.

The trade union has emphasized on the fact that without the written clarification who is allowed to add casino gaming content to FDJ terminals, about two hundred French casinos would be affected by the intrusion of a new buyer who could seriously threaten their results and perspectives. Casinos de France group has concluded its declaration by highlighting its intention to challenge any eventual threat to the land-based casino industry of France.

According to the casino group, installation of games which are potentially close to casino games would have a serious negative impact on their businesses, which have been among the largest employer in the local community. In 2018, French casinos managed to deliver Gross Gaming Product amounting to €2.3 billion. As the trade union has reminded, French casinos have a serious role in the local economy, as they have been generating a large part of the state’s and local authorities’ budget thanks to the direct levy imposed on their gambling revenue.

For the time being, the casino sector represents approximately 23% of the legal gambling market in France, which makes them the second-largest gambling service providers after the FDJ (46%).

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