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France to be Sued by European Union Over Gambling Advertising

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The European Commission, an executive arm of the European Union, today threatened court action against the country of France, saying that unless France changes a law banning foreign gambling advertising they will pursue legal action.

The EC says that the French law threatens or otherwise imposes criminal sanctions on chief executives of sport betting companies based in other EU nations, and has damaged sponsorship agreements in football, including Unibet.com's participation in the Tour de France.

Several service providers levied complaints and the EU has begun legal action against ten nations. Italy and Austria have responded positively, Denmark, Hungary, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands as well as Sweden have been included.

The EC said the countries could not claim they were trying to protect consumers from gambling if, at the same time, the encourage people to participate in state lotteries and other gambling entities that pay proceeds to the government.

The suit challenges the position of existing national operators as state gambling monopolies, saying they should not benefit from being categorized as non-profit operations since they have strict annual revenue targets and rely on retail outlets to market those services.

This argument is the same argument that Antigua & Barbuda have argued and won at the WTO, citing U.S. law as protectionism and in violation of treaties that are long standing.

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