Friday, 30 April 2010

Au Revoir Betfair

A new country is now added to the list of countries from which Betfair no longer accepts bets. Somewhat bizarrely, it is France, and likely home to several thousand Betfair accounts belonging not just to ex-pats, but Frenchies as well.

The French Government's attempt to protect their monopoly on gambling will, of course, ultimately prove futile, but in the meantime the consequence is that Betfair and several other mainstream companies will be pulling out of France. As Mark Davies of Betfair says it:

The arduous task of contacting our French customers with this unhappy news begins immediately; and we will set about closing accounts and blocking French IP addresses when it becomes necessary to do so. With great regret, we're pulling out of France.

Absurd and ridiculous, though, it unquestionably is.

The simple fact is that we know, and customers know, that there are plenty of work-arounds for IP blocking, should people chose to use them; and without operator co-operation, the chances of the French government enforcing their legislation - short of sending the police randomly into people's front rooms and catching them on their computers - is zero. Operator co-operation will only come from those with brand names to protect, so the law will shut out precisely the sort of company that ought naturally to be welcomed in.

Anyone else who wants a bit of the action in defiance of the French government has the playing field wide open, so the black market will flourish. By France's own estimates, it already equates to around 5,000 sites, even before the addition of new rogue operators which are likely to pop up in the way that music file-sharing sites did when Napster first got banned. The music industry has struggled to recover from that position ever since, but the French have chosen not to learn from past mistakes. Instead, they will deny people proper choice and competition and force those who want it to find it in the illegal market. They are failing their citizens in consequence, and it's a shame to see it.
Perhaps they have other priorities right now. The AP and UPI reported that the French government announced that it has raised its terror alert level from Run to Hide. The only two higher levels in France are Surrender and Collaborate. The rise in the alert level was precipitated by a recent fire which destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively disabling their military.

Update 1.5.10: A couple of comments have informed me that the post in question has now been removed. I can't say I'm surprised. The post in question was certainly a little more revealing about about at least one topic than perhaps Betfair, or Mark in hindsight, were comfortable with.


Anonymous said...

Biggoted jokes about the French, you'll be telling us stories of your mate chalky next.

Cassini said...

You may have learned a new word this week, well done there, but I suggest that before you start using it, you learn a) what it means and b) how to spell it. When you get these things wrong, you just make yourself look rather stupid.

Bigoted: a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

Anonymous said...

I see Mark has removed the post now, must be a gaffe in there somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Definitely a gaffe. will see in june when the law is running.
more than surprised to read that article without reading anything in french web

Anonymous said...

Spooky, the post is back now ;)