On Jan. 1, the French government published a decree on Legifrance.gouv.fr stating that all French Internet service providers (ISPs) must prevent players from playing on any gambling sites not licensed by the Autorité de Régulation Des Jeux en Ligne (ARJEL). These actions are similar to those instituted in Belgium where authorities, who recently approved three online poker sites.
The official order, already in effect, states that ISPs must prevent French residents from playing on blacklisted sites. The ISPs will filter traffic to approved domains instead, and any costs incurred by the ISPs for carrying out this directive will be reimbursed.
Such measures have been criticized, with some arguing it violates European Union laws; however, this criticism has not stopped many countries from executing similar orders.
Both Belgium and France have already implemented these regulations, and Spain’s drafts, which were recently delayed, have such provisions. Germany’s drafts have ISP restrictions, though the EU has rejected the drafts. Whether or not French ISPs abide by the decree remains to be seen.
ARJEL, which has governed online gaming in France since 2010, has licensed a number of online poker sites including 888, PartyPoker, PokerStars, iPoker, Everest, and French-only rooms, Partouche and Winamax.