All change in France as En Marche preps for FDJ sale

All change in France as En Marche preps for FDJ sale

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 Posted by Craig Davies
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Law previously prevented sale of a stake over 50%

The long-mooted privatisation of Francaise des Jeux (FDJ), France’s state owned gambling and lottery operator, has moved a step closer this week subject to a number of stipulations.

Forming a part of Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche government’s modernisation of French enterprise, it could move to divest its interests in a variety of state owned assets, including rail, airports, motorway and postal services.

Reported to have been branded a “non-strategic state asset” for the En Marche long-term modernisation business program, with ministers also said to view FDJ as disposable as well as insisting that it should not be attached to the state, it has been long stated that a sale of its 72 per cent majority stake has been long sought by the culmination of 2018.

This week the French National Assembly, one chamber (lower house) of French parliament, granted approval for En Marche to go ahead with the sale of its FDJ holdings, but that goes hand in hand with condition of the establishment of fresh regulatory provisions for the gambling sector within the nation.

Amongst the stipulations handed down is the creation of a new regulatory authority, responsible for the supervision of all levels of French betting and gaming, with a concerted push for a unified framework to avoid stakeholders potentially suffering double guardianship in its operations within the nation.  

Gambling regulation in France is currently overlooked by three separate bodies, which sees ARJEL monitoring online gambling services, the finance ministry regulating betting activities and the French Agricultural Department supervising horseracing laws.

Furthermore, the creation of an independent supervising body has also been set down, to ensure that the potential new owners of FDJ comply with French fundraising, civic and social responsibility duties and standards.

News outlets within France have reported that En Marche is targeting a €3bn windfall for its FDJ stake.

Totally Gaming says: It was initially believed that French law would prevent a sale of a stake in excess of 50 per cent, but change to legislation began with regards to the divestment of other government controlled operations. It remains to be seen whether the timeframe imposed, and figures being heard in relation to the deal, are realistic.

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