The French Minister of the Economy, Finance, and Industry, has got a few poker players in France excited, after he suggested that he might support ARJEL’s proposals to open up player liquidity to other European markets.
Is there light at the end of the tunnel for French poker?
Let’s hope so.
It’s getting pretty dark in there.
It’s been a terrible time. The final financial quarter of 2014 saw a decline of €17.3 million in French online poker revenue. Whilst there is a slight upturn in tournament interest (€6.5m increase in Q4), cash game numbers have been falling with the rapid rate of blind lemmings taking a summer stroll along a cliff (down €23.8m in Q4).
It’s not just online poker that’s taking a beating. Live poker is also getting its ass whipped pretty badly. The World Series of Poker (WSOP) decided that the Germans would create a better European series than the French by hauling their product from Paris to Berlin. The European Poker Tour (EPT) decided that Deauville would no longer be a part of their plans; and the World Poker Tour (WPT) also stopped visiting the Aviation Club de France (ACF) a year before the French authorities placed the card room into liquidation.
The net result is a lack of fish. The sharks have buggered off. The rest of the world have opened their arms and welcomed French online poker players with a peck on both cheeks.
Anyway, back to that light.
Several media outlets, including Pokerfuse and Cardschat, have run with the news that the French regulator ARJEL are in cohorts with the French government over plans to amend their current legislation to allow online poker pools to be shared with other licensed sites around Europe.
The amendment – first presented to French authorities, who subsequently turned their nose up at it and the end of Jan – has been resubmitted and Emmanuel Macron, French Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry, is prepared to work with ARJEL on a resolution that suits all parties.
“We are currently working on it with ARJEL with a view (to including it in) to the draft digital law. It is in this perspective that we want to treat the subject,” said Macron.
Speaking to PokerStrategy.fr, ARJEL representatives said, “The opening of French poker tables to European liquidities is once again on the cards. ARJEL will present a raft of measures among which will be this proposal as part of the upcoming draft of the digital law. With regard to timeframes, the consultation phase is over and the draft law is being developed.”
All eyes are on the triumvirate of Spain, Italy, and France to pool resources should new regulation be passed.
It’s believed that 22 parliament deputies are in favor of the proposed changes to the digital bill. There are 571 of them in total.