The Competition Authority announced Tuesday that it had imposed a fine of 750,000 euros on the National Confederation of tobacconists "for cartel practices in the sector of the distribution of games of chance", extending from August 23 to September 27, 2016. "These practices consisted in organizing boycott operations to prevent the opening of alternative distribution points of gambling, planned as part of a partnership between the French Games (FDJ) and the company Réseau Fleuri", or florists under the Florajet brand, said in a statement the Authority.
The competition watchdog indicates that from 2013, the FDJ had "begun to develop contractual relations with the floral teletransmission company Réseau Fleuri", a total of 7,500 florists, thus authorizing the online sale of a bouquet called "Bouquet Chance", accompanied by scratch games. A broader partnership was then concluded at the end of 2015 between the two entities, "allowing florists of the Florajet network to distribute certain scratch games and draw games" such as Lotto grids, EuroMillions and Keno games, it is detailed.
This approval for the French games of points of sale outside the network of tobacconists had "aroused strong dissatisfaction" on the part of the latter, says the Competition Authority. "Considering that the "Florajet affair" required in return "a very harsh action against the FDJ" and that it was necessary to "plant their new game which comes out in September", the Confederation of tobacconists of France (CNBF) "then initiated and organized operations to boycott the validation of the FDJ games, operations relayed at the local level by regional federations and trade union chambers of tobacconists." the statement said.
It is stated that "boycotts were organized during the launch of the new EuroMillions game formula on September 27, 2016", as well as during "the validation of online games (Lotto, Sports Lotto and EuroMillions) in the Eastern Federation on September 22, 2016." "By focusing on ousting potential competitors of tobacconists, the CNBF has gone beyond the limits of its legitimate union activity by intervening in the market," says the Competition Authority, which evokes a "behavior of particular gravity".