New Casinos in France: Assessing the Controversial Legislation

The recent adoption of a law allowing for the opening of new casinos across France has sparked significant debate, drawing attention from various stakeholders in the industry. Fabrice Paire, President of the Executive Board at Partouche Group, shared his views on this legislative move in an interview with BFM Business. His insights shed light on both the opportunities and concerns surrounding the regulatory changes in the casino sector.

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Expanding Horizons: The Controversial Law

The new law has set the stage for the establishment of casinos in specific communities hosting major equestrian events. Notably, Saumur, home to the historic Cadre Noir, and Arnac-Pompadour, housing the French Institute of the Horse and Riding, are among the designated locations.

Additionally, the law permits the introduction of casinos in bordering departments that currently lack them, potentially resulting in two new establishments—one in Ardennes and another in Meurthe-et-Moselle. However, Fabrice Paire highlights a limitation: this expansion affects only four cities, a scope he considers relatively narrow.

While acknowledging this initiative’s positive aspects, Paire raises concerns about the broader state policy on gambling. He advocates for a more comprehensive approach, advocating the establishment of casinos in highly frequented areas, drawing parallels to entertainment venues like cinemas or bowling alleys.

Unequal Ground: The French Lottery in Focus

Paire’s enthusiasm for the law is tempered by his scathing critique of the French Lottery (FDJ), which he perceives as a behemoth disrupting sectoral fairness. He questions the “total inequity” between land-based casinos and the FDJ, pointing out discrepancies in access wherein FDJ games remain available to minors and individuals barred from gambling.

Paire emphasizes the differing treatment of addiction-related issues between land-based casinos and the FDJ, demanding uniformity in policies across the board.

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Advocating Balance and Equity

In his assessment, Paire aligns with the positive evolution of casino regulation in France. However, he urges a more balanced approach and a comprehensive revision of the gambling policy. He accentuates the disparities between physical casinos and the FDJ, emphasizing the latter’s considerable advantages as a state operator over private operators.

The perspectives of industry leaders like Fabrice Paire shed light on the nuances and complexities of the recent legislative changes in the casino sector in France. As discussions continue, his call for a more inclusive and fair regulatory landscape resonates as a crucial aspect in shaping the future of gambling in the country.

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