The European Commission (EC) has launched an ‘in-depth investigation’ examining how Groupe FDJ secured its 25-year exclusive concession to operate France’s national lottery.
The Commission has launched its investigation following two separate complaints that highlighted Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) paying the French government a fee of €380 million to operate France’s national lottery games and retail distribution network.
FDJ’s exclusive contract will be evaluated as to whether the En Marche government breached the European Union’s state-aid and fair market competition rules.
“The opening of an in-depth investigation gives France and all interested parties the opportunity to comment on the measure at issue. It does not prejudge in any way the outcome of the investigation,” the EC statement read.
This morning, FDJ issued a response underlining that its national lottery contract had been agreed upon as part of the “government’s legal framework for privatising the company”.
In 2019, the En Marche government approved the public listing of FDJ on the Paris Euronext Exchange as a key policy of France’s ‘Pacte Loi’ programme privatising a number of French state-owned assets.
As France’s state-owned gambling operator, FDJ had previously held the national lottery rights for an unlimited period. The fee of €380 million had been agreed upon for FDJ to continue to operate the national lottery as a private enterprise – with the contract approved by France’s Securities and Trading Commission.
FDJ governance responded: “FDJ is available, along with the French State, to answer any questions from the European and French authorities over the course of these proceedings to provide any information necessary to demonstrate the compliance of this legal framework with French and European law.”