Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Encore...

I see more operators are pulling out of France. Some of them, of course, are doing so in order to apply for a licence, but others because their product offering is banned under the new legislation.

Specifically, Betclic has shut down its casino;

Sportingbet has blocked access to French customers while applying for a licence;

Paradise Poker has blocked access to French customers. And it is rumoured that BET365 is to close French accounts.

Meanwhile - quelle surprise! - the PMU have applied for a sports betting licence

Two thoughts spring to mind.

First, any lingering doubts from those among us who still believe in fairies that the French legislation is designed to protect the encumbent player must finally have exploded. The PMU is not obliged, as others are, to close its existing business while it goes through the application process.

The other is that experience has shown that it is actually remarkably difficult to win an account from another operator, because standard levels of customer lethargy mean that however good and competitive your product, people still tend to stick with their existing provider, because it's just too much like hard work to change. Famously, this is why people keep their bank accounts, on average, for longer than they keep a spouse.

This means that all those customers who are having their accounts closed, who will then go to open an account wherever they can, will be relatively unlikely to return where they were once their first operator is licensed. They have to go through the account opening process, submitting details, and perhaps having Know Your Customer checks done as well. Some simply won't be arsed.

This would be wonderful for France if they all, instead, opened with the PMU in the interim; but as the PMU offers neither innovation nor value, the chances are that they will, instead, open with an operator which is acting in breach of French law: in other words, in the black market.

Makes a lot of sense, this French law, non?


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