The Aviation Club de France has shut down for good after the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris announced plans to place the poker room into liquidation.
The Aviation Club de France (ACF) is dead.
Concern has become reality. The Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris will not be renewing their license. They have been placed into liquidation. 213 employees are out of work. French poker players are running out of places to play.
“It’s so sad that the historical place of gaming in France has disappeared,” says PokerNews France Chief Editor, Mathieu Sustrac. “107 years of history and 20 years of poker in the Champs Elysees. It’s a shame the government didn’t try to save this. And lest we not forget the 213 employees who have fought for their dignity in the past five months.”
It was not that long ago that a nomination panel of Bruno Benveniste, Laurent Dumont, Alexandre Dreyfus, Bruno Fitoussi and Mathieu Sustrac were awarding “The 213 in the Aviation Club de France and Victor Saumont” with a special Jury Award at the 2014/15 French Poker Awards. That trophy no longer has a home.
The club was closed down in September after the French Judicial Police raided the joint and arrested 12 people. The order came from judges at the Grand Instance Court in Paris.
It has remained closed ever since. 213 employees have struggled to make ends meet. Uncertainty casting a shadow that has finally left after a downpour they will never forget. There were many campaigns to keep the place open – most notably the #BringbackACF campaign that was waged via social media networks. Nothing worked. The opinion of policymakers couldn’t be changed.
It’s a tough, tough time for French poker. It’s being slashed from all sides, and this most recent cut will draw more blood than most. The ACF was more than a poker room. It was a home. It was a heart. It was a community, a place to earn a living, a place to compete.
The Partouche Poker Tour died. The World Series of Poker withdrew from Paris and set up shop in Berlin. The European Poker Tour withdrew from Deauville. The Cercle Haussmann closed. The Association Cercle Cadet was put into judicial liquidation.
“Poker is dying,” Philippe Ktorza told PokerNews before continuing, “And we all look at it without doing anything. Us, the players, we have no power.”
Ktorza smashes the nail on the head. We are powerless to stop the advancement of governments and policymakers. This is a game of cards. Why do so many people see it as a form of cancer? The news that Andrew Lichtenberger is joining forces with the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is the best news I have heard for a long time. Let’s hope more people follow that particular mercurial talent.
“The ACF has created a lot of great French poker players. Players that have performed at the highest level in the world: Antony Lellouche, Laurent Polito, Alexandre Reard, Angelo Besnainou, Bruno Fitoussi and Nicolas Babel. I will always remember the people. We had some fun times in that historical place,” said Sustrac.