French state online gambling monopoly coming to end

The move by the French government to comply with European Union free movement of trade and services requirements by privatising its gambling monopoly Francaise des Jeux (see previous InfoPowa reports) has been the subject of growing speculation this week.

Analysts at the Carnegie Investment Bank said the news that FdeJ may be privatised in anticipation of regulated and licensed online betting by the end of 2009 could be positive for the likes of Betsson and Unibet, with current state monopolies possibly going on the acquisition trail once privatised.

The French state has a 72 percent stake in FdeJ with employees holding 5 percent and historical French lottery organisations controlling 20 percent and the Soficoma brokerage fund around three percent.

Potential suitors have been named in the French business media as publishing firm Lagardere SCA and telecommunications and media firms Bouygues SA and Vivendi SA.

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