Despite the fact that ARJEL, the online gambling regulator of France, had not rejected any applications for licenses and had issued the first set of licenses in early June just before the FIFA 2010 Football World Cup commenced in South Africa, many big names had not been issued with licenses. At the time ARJEL promised that the remaining applications for licenses were being processed and that further licenses would be issued shortly and as promised, licenses have been granted to five more online gambling operators through a second list.
Amongst the names of online gambling operators having been issued with licenses are ChiliPoker for an online poker license through Gaming llad SAS, FriendBet for a sports betting license through LIL Managers Limited and Partouche for an online poker license through Partouche Gaming France SAS. PokerStars, the biggest online poker operator and lead sponsor of the European Poker Tour is also on the second list.
PartyGaming’s flagship brand PartyPoker has been granted a poker license while two other existing brands, PartyBets and Game Bookers received sports betting licenses from ARJEL. Two more PartyGaming brands were especially created for the French online gambling market through B2B and deals with French companies. Another online poker room that has the AB Group, one of the largest television broadcasters in France, as a partner is LuckyJeux. Another online poker room in collaboration with Aviation Club de France, the prestigious Paris casino is ACF Poker.
The new sports betting licensees are able to commence operations immediately although both the old and the new poker licensees are still on hold as permission to commence operating was not yet granted due to a complaint filed by Malta before the European Commission as they are opposed to a common definition of “online gambling”. They feel that there are “ulterior motives” behind the common definition. Although the issue was expected to have been sorted out by the end of June, there has been no news of any progress having been made.
Microgaming and its partner 888.com are two big names that have been left out of the second ARJEL list and are therefore not yet able to legally enter the French online gambling market.