Online poker soon authorized in France

Posted by admin | online poker | Monday 28 June 2010 12:54 am

Online poker is so far frozen in France like in the Ice Age.

Online poker should be allowed in the next few days in France by a decree of the Ministry of Interior, probably published in the Official Journal next Tuesday, three weeks after the actual opening of the French market to sports and horse betting.

The authorization for online poker had been postponed because of an obstruction by Malta under European Union rules. The French Government had sent a year ago its draft legislation for online gaming to the European Commission and also notified Brussels.

The European Union’s Member States were given three months to make their observations, and this is what Malta did on May 27th 2010. France which should respond within thirty days, has since given explanations in Brussels, but could not publish the decree earlier.

Malta, a hub of online gaming operators in Europe is challenging a provision in the French law on gambling and online gambling that requires players to register with an licensed operator. As soon as the decree related to online gaming is published, French players will be allowed to battle in card games such as online poker on the allowed sites. But meanwhile no online poker has taken place in France since June 1st, as all operators have frozen the account of French players in order to follow the law.

The Regulatory Authority for Online Games (Autorité de Régulation des Jeux en Ligne) has already issued licenses to eleven French and foreign operators for these online games: a first wave on June 8 to PMU, Unibet, Bwin, Sajoo, Eurosportbet Winamax and Everest Poker, and a second one on June 25 to ChiliPoker Partouche, Pokerstars, Partypoker.

According to online gaming statistics, the potential number of regular online poker players could reach 1.5 million for a turnover of 300 million euros in 2010 and 500 million euros 2011. The battle has started for the online poker market in France and let’s see when the French will be back to their computers for Texas Hold’em and Omaha heads-up matches. Next week if God agrees.

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