The early bird catches the worm for betfair

French shareholder does some solid lobbying work

The UK online gambling group Betfair is fortunate that one of its major shareholders, Bernard Arnault (he holds around 10 percent of the stock, it is understood) has such good connections in France.

News breaking this week in that country indicates that he has been influential in securing a major 'early bird' advantage for the company - approval by French gaming authorities before the official liberalisation of the market in that country scheduled for early 2010.

The achievement means that Betfair will be in a position to advertise its P2P betting exchange services to French punters, securing an early opportunity to establish itself and its international brand in a potentially powerful market.

Arnault's influence in France is not hard to understand - in addition to his Betfair interests he heads the luxury goods group Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), and he is one of France’s most successful and respected business moguls.

Latest reports indicate that Betfair will be taxed as required by the French regulatory framework for online betting .

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