Patrick Partouche, the astute French businessman who heads an offline and online casino empire, defended Internet gambling in an interview on the radio station Europe 1 last week, emphasising the precautions taken against underage and problem gamblers by online gambling operators.
Speaking on the current move by the French government towards a more liberal French gambling market, Partouche called for an equitable regulatory system, a sore point for many operators who believe that the existing FdeJ and PMU monopolies will still be given an advantage by French legislators currently debating the draft liberalisation bill in the National Assembly .
Partouche debunked allegations by anti-online gambling factions that Internet gambling placed the underaged and problem gamblers at more risk, saying that online venues take extraordinary precautions and use advanced identity verification technology to exclude as far as possible the risk of minors or addictive gamblers signing up. French operators often use the Addictel system to channel troubled gamblers to organisations where they can get assistance.
Regarding the prospect of increased competition in the French market, Partouche commented that properly managed and regulated competitors would be welcomed, providing that they observed the same standards and rules laid down by the new regulatory regime. He thought that the government would probably restrict new licenses to around 30.