As part of French president Emmanuel Macron’s commitment to reduce the state’s role in the economy, the government has laid out its plans to privatise the state-owned lottery monopoly Francaise des Jeux (FDJ).
France currently holds a 72 percent stake in FDJ – a stake thought to be worth some E3bn.
In an interview with local media France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, said: “The state is not meant to run competitive businesses […] We are moving from a managerial logic to a logic of investment in the future.”
France’s lower house has already voted in favour of FDJ privatisation, but only if other gaming reforms are also met.
Currently France’s gaming market is regulated by three authorities: the ARJEL predominantly supervises online gaming, whereas betting and horse racing are also under the aegis of the finance and agriculture ministries respectively.
Essentially many firms are being regulated twice, and parliamentarians have asked for one unitary authority to govern gaming.
The move has been resisted however, by the embedded left in France who celebrate its history of economic “direction.”
“To privatize companies that pay you dividends each year is like selling family jewels that are the property of the French,” said socialist politician, Boris Vallaud. “It’s a short-sighted decision,” he added. “In ten years we could lose money.”