The government of France may have ruled out the possibility of building full scale casinos in Paris. However a plan to allow exclusive clubs, like those in London, is moving forward according to local reports citing Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.
The local gambling halls or cercles de jeux, of which only two remain, would be replaced by highly regulated gambling clubs. Beginning in 2008 the government began shutting down the cercles as they suspected the venues were being used to launder Corsican mafia moneys.
Earlier this year the interior minister directed the country’s gambling commission director, Jean-Pierre Duport to come up with ways to re-establish a gaming industry in Paris for the purpose of revenue generation. Duport’s report was released Friday and included two primary proposals.
The first proposal was to replace the cercles with casinos offering games including slots, which option was estimated to be able to generate up to €45.6 million in tax revenues. That idea was favored by the government but local officials pushed back against the idea. Criticisms from both ends of the political spectrum included Socialist Party mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo saying the idea was not her “cup of tea,” and conservative, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet stating that the government was promoting the project “strictly for financial reasons.”
With only two proposals in the report that left the creation of high-end, Londonesque gaming clubs with no slot machines.
Duport’s report noted that Paris and Rome are the only major European cities without a casino.
On Friday the interior ministry confirmed to local press that Minister Cazeneuve was inclined to support the club proposal and wanted to move forward with the idea. A target date of the start of 2016 was indicated and the ministry stated that a timetable for the start of operations was in the works.