Daily Fantasy Sports Begins Its Rollout In France; Winamax First To Market

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France fantasy sports

Following a trial during the Euro 2016 soccer competition, French regulated operator Winamax, has launched a daily fantasy sports game called Le Jeu de l’Entraineur (JDE)—The Coach’s Game.

Winamax is the first operator in the French regulated market to offer DFS. The company is the regulated market leader in online poker, even ahead of PokerStars, although two years ago it branched out by offering online sports betting.

French national team manager leads marketing drive

The Coach’s Game has launched in time for the beginning of the French Ligue 1 soccer season which began last Friday, August 19. Winamax is fronting its promotional activity with the former French national team manager Raymond Domenech.

He will be picking his own fantasy team every week and reporting back through the Winamax blog on his experiences and providing advice for new players.

The game format offers a choice of five-a-side or full teams, and games are available. Players have an initial play-money budget from which they must construct a team consisting of a goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders and forwards.

Points are awarded based on the performance of the team in each position. Game stakes of €2, €10 and €50 are currently available, although higher stakes are expected to be available soon.

France only regulates games of skill

The questions bedevilling US government officials regarding whether DFS is a game of skill or not, won’t find answers in the French regulatory system.

Apart from lotteries, France only regulates gambling games of skill. No online casino games like roulette or slots are allowed. The main games are sports betting, horse race betting and online poker.

The decision to add DFS was first moved at a meeting of ARJEL’s college — the equivalent of a board of directors — back in October last year. By April this year, ARJEL published its outline regulations explaining the conditions under which operators could offer DFS.

ARJEL requires fantasy leagues to display clear rules. Participants must know how points are calculated and must be assured that the rankings are accurate. What remained unclear was what sporting actions would be authorized to create the measures on which rankings could be based.

Sportsbook operator France Pari first requested DFS authorization

Sportsbook France Pari made the first submission requesting authorization for different types of bets which could be made on DFS contests.

There was no explicit mention of DFS in the application, rather the operator requested permission for specific bets which could be “reserved for specific competitions and combined sports betting offers, composed of at least ten betting elements, only in mutual form.”

The language may seem obscure, but it actually describes the basic elements of DFS competitions.

The regulator authorized 19 different measures that could collectively produce a points score in a DFS tournament. They are listed on page 28 of the 66-page decision and highlighted in red.

Operators designing a DFS product for the French market are restricted to using these specific measures in calculating the performance of any player’s fantasy team.

The fact that the first request for approval came from France Pari suggests that Winamax will not have the French DFS market to itself for long.

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