France to privatise state-owned gambling operator FDJ

By Oliver Rudgewick

France plans to privatise state-owned lottery monopoly Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) amid calls to restructure the national gambling regulatory framework.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire released draft legislation on Tuesday dubbed the "Action Plan for Growth and Transformation of Companies". Some French media have reported that the sale of FDJ could give the government a €3 billion ($3.5 billion) winfall.

The French Assembly, the lower house of French parliament, voted this week to allow French President Emmanuel Macron's En Marche party  to sell its 72% share in FDJ - but only if it meets several conditions.

The Assembly want Macron to establish new regulations for France's gambling sector and a new gambling authority to regulate all levels of gaming and betting. Right now, France is regulated by three bodies. ARJEL monitors online gambling, and the French finance and agricultural ministries supervise betting and horseracing laws.

Many French organisations are suffering from ‘double guardianship’, due to the overlapping in regulation, the French news website i-Conseils reports. The authority will ensure that the FDJ’s new owners comply with French fundraising, civic and social responsibility duties and standards. 

The privatisation is the latest step in Maron's plan to divest the government’s holdings in state-owned assets. Airports, railway stations and postal services will also be sold off.


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