France's FDJ Down on Loss, Up on Forthcoming Mobile Launch

7 February 2008

France's gambling monopoly, La Francaise des Jeux (FDJ), has reported a drop in annual revenues for the first time in 15 years, but launching new products this year, including a mobile offering, could help repair the small loss.

In its annual report, released on Jan. 29, FDJ divulged a 1.8 percent dip in annual turnover to 9.3 billion euros, compared to annual revenues of 9.5 billion euros in 2006.

FDJ Chief Executive Christophe Blanchard-Dignac said in order to compete with foreign companies in what may become a liberalized French online gambling market, FDJ must broaden its product offering. Thus, the company also announced in its report its plans for 2008, which include the launch of a mobile gaming product to French citizens in the spring and an Internet gambling site in the near future.

Over the last year, France has been at the center of regulatory controversy in the I-gaming industry, being investigated by the European Commission for possible EU trade law infringements. And FDJ has been involved in its share of legal rows as well, including filing suit against Unibet CEO Petter Nylander in late 2007 for allegedly violating statutes dating to 1836 and 1891.

But, recently, the French government hinted at a "controlled opening" of its online gambling market. The government is now in the process of going through consultations on the matter, which will be followed by a lengthy consideration by the government.

FDJ could not be reached for comment.

The IGN staff continually troll the wires, foreign papers, corporate news alert services and other dark, dusty corners of the Web to bring you the very latest industry news.