French MPs to consider amendments to bill on NFT gaming

French MPs to consider amendments to bill on NFT gaming

One amendment proposes allowing land-based casinos to offer online gambling.

France.- MPs in France have started to evaluate proposed amendments to a bill that could allow the regulation of online gaming through Web3-style games involving monetisable digital objects. The bill that would regulate products like those behind Sorare and Socios, which France refers to using the acronym JONUM.

At the behest of the French gambling regulator, the ANJ, the French company Soare has made changes to its NFT football game for the domestic market, but these are intended as a short-term solution, pending the expected legislative changes. It’s expected that if lawmakers can agree on a framework, a text could be ready by the end of the year.

Some proffered amendments to Article 15 of the proposed legislation aim to distinguish JONUM from gambling products in an attempt to ensure that their definition cannot be applied to online casinos, which remain unregulated in France. Some lawmakers have raised concerns that online casinos could change what they offer to digital objects in order to adhere to the law.

One of the amendments proposes that monetisable digital objects would not be allowed to “be transferred, directly or indirectly for consideration to any gaming company”. Meanwhile, another proposed amendment would authorise land-based casinos to offer online gambling, thus channeling players to a “secure, controlled and taxed offer” instead of unlicensed offerings.

Online casino is illegal in France, but Philippe Latombe of the Democratic Movement party introduced Bill 1248 in May in a bid to regulate the sector. The bill proposes an initial five-year moratorium during which online casino would be offered only by existing national operators.

However, the Ecologist group in parliament has proposed deleting article 15 entirely saying that it “doesn’t want the issues raised by web3 limited to an article in a catch-all bill”. It’s calling for a dedicated bill for JONUM, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Another amendment proposes removing the word “monetisable” from “monetisable digital games”.

FDJ gets green light to buy ZEturf

This week, the French Competition Authority approved the national lottery operator FDJ’s acquisition of ZEturf. Under a deal announced last November, FDJ agreed to pay €175m for the sports betting operator, with the possibility of an additional consideration depending on performance in 2023.

At the time, FDJ said the deal would help it expand its presence in the online gambling market. ZEturf, which was established in 2001, holds around 20 per cent of the market share in France in online horse racing betting. It is also present in the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain. 

FDJ must “clearly separate” its monopoly gaming activities (lottery, scratch games, etc) from its competitive gambling products. Player accounts will be specific to each activity without the possibility of a gateway and the FDJ will not be able to promote its online betting at points of sale in its network or to online lottery players. It will have to operate separate social network accounts for the different activities.

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