The French online poker behemoth, Winamax, is forced to cancel their forthcoming live tour after losing a significant court case against a bunch of casino bullies.
It sucks to be a French loving poker player.
It’s easier to find syphilis than a kosha game of live poker in the land of expensive paintings and tall towers.
The Aviation Club de France (ACF) closed down.
Hell, they all closed down.
And now this?
A tribe of corporations with ties to the French gambling industry have dragged Winamax through the courts by their hair as the authorities watched on and let it happen.
In 2016, four corporations formed on a single complaint. The Association des Casinos Independants Francais (ACIF), the Syndicat des Casinos Modernes de France, the Syndicat Casinos de France, and SA Forges Thermal Company rallied behind the idea that Winamax should not be allowed to run live tournaments as they are only licensed to operate online. The quartet rooted the complaint in the system in 2017, and after losing the initial hearing, Winamax appealed, and have now lost that also.
What No Winamax Poker Tour (WiPT)?
In a blog post written by French poker journalist/writer/whateveryoucallus, Benjo DiMeo, we learned that Winamax were unsuccessful in their attempts to convince the higher-ups in the Paris Court of Appeals that no wrongdoing took place.
The court disagreed, believing that offering free online satellites to live events, constitutes ‘unlawful’ gambling. The beak ordered Winamax to shut down the WiPT, and to pay full court costs.
It’s a damaging blow to the French operator as they had secured venues, paid for hotel rooms and sought out partners. The event will still take place, albeit online, and according to DiMeo, they might have lost this battle, but they are still engaged in this war.
“Of course, we do not intend to stop on this defeat: other legal battles await us,” Writes DiMeo. “But today, and for an indefinite period, the field of free live poker is inaccessible to us in France. So, is the WiPT dead? No, he is evolving.”
The case began because the four corporations said they suffered financial loss as a result of the existence of the WiPT.
“Winamax is above all online poker, but we have never lost sight of the fact that all the beginners who once started their first tournament at home, on their computer, had only one idea in mind: to do the same as soon as possible “in real life”, face to the real players, with real cards and real chips in hand.”
The WiPT had been running as a live tour since 2011. The new ‘evolved’ online WiPT begins Sep 24 and promises a €500,000 Guarantee, with a €250 buy-in Main Event.
Winamax’s live events in Dublin and Marrakesh remain unaffected by this decision.