Online poker in France is gradually losing its interest. Indeed, French players are no longer as enthusiastic as in 2010, the year when online poker was finally authorized on French territory. The figures collected by the Online Gaming Regulatory Authority (Arjel) show that the craze for the famous card game is decreasing. The stakes recorded in 2014 are much lower than those recorded in 2011, the boom year for online poker in France. However, players are still interested in tournaments. Indeed, registered entry fees are growing steadily.

However, online poker in France interests a large number of operators

In April 2010, the French market finally opened up to operators offering online poker. The operators in the sector were awaiting this authorization with great impatience. French players also hoped for this opening of the market. Moreover, many were already indulging in online poker even before he obtained this authorization. Eleven operators obtained approval from the Online Gaming Regulatory Authority (Arjel) when the market opened. Various sites are therefore positioned on this regulated market.

There is, among others, the Barrière Poker site, the result of collaboration between La Française des Jeux and the Barrière casinos. PMU is also interested in this new opportunity and creates PartyGaming. This opening of the market greatly interested investment groups and international operators. Thus, the Everest Poker site was launched by the Mangas Gaming group and the EurosportBet site (online poker and betting) by TF1. The English site Winamax, bought by Patrick Bruel (singer and professional poker player) and Marc Simoncini (founder of the Meetic site), is also in the race as well as PokerStars whose management of the subsidiary in France has been entrusted to Alexandre Balkany ( son of UMP deputy Patrick Balkany).

French players’ disaffection with online poker

At the very beginning, online poker was very popular with French players. In 2011, the stakes recorded for “cash games” reached 6.5 billion euros. For information, cash games are games played with chips corresponding to real money during which players can leave at any time. Since then, the figures recorded by the Arjel fall, the stakes in 2014 fall to less than 4.5 billion euros. The enthusiasm of French players for online poker is gradually fading.

In addition, the tournaments still arouse interest since it is noted that the registered entry fees are increasing. In 2014, Arjel recorded 1.5 billion euros for entry fees. Despite this sustained growth, the income generated by tournaments remains lower than that generated by cash game bets.

In short, French players are less and less present in online poker rooms, but they are still numerous to take an interest in the various poker tournaments.…

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The project to set up a casino in Paris seems to be on the way to fruition. Although the road is still rough and many steps still have to be taken, there is a high probability that the report of the commission responsible for studying the matter will be positive. True object of speculation, this report should finally be submitted to the Ministry of the Interior by the beginning of June. On a purely financial level, the opening of a casino in the French capital could bring in big tax revenues. But this argument is not the only point to take into account since the union delegate Force Ouvrière, against a possible casino in Paris, has some weighty arguments.

A favorable report for casinos in Paris?

Speculations are rife regarding the possible establishment of a casino in Paris (Roissy). The report of the commission responsible for studying the creation of a legal gambling offer is long overdue. The Interior Ministry has still not received this famous report from Prefect Jean-Pierre Duport announced for the end of April. It has been communicated that it will be in the hands of the minister by the beginning of June. In the meantime, everyone is speculating on what it might contain. However, it is highly probable that this report is positive for the establishment of a few casinos in the French capital. It should be noted in passing that Paris is one of the rare European capitals that does not have a casino. This state of affairs is explained by the law of 1920 prohibiting the establishment of a casino opening gaming rooms less than 100 km from Paris.

If the creation of a casino in Paris is really possible, the final decision will rest with the Town Hall headed by Anne Hidalgo. The latter prefers to wait for this report before speaking on the subject. On the other hand, two possibilities are to be considered, the disappearance of the two circles of games still open or their transformation into a casino club. This second option, allowing the law of 1901 to be changed, is however unlikely.

Creation of a casino in Paris: an obstacle course

The FO representatives, received some time ago in Matignon, will not easily give up. The opening of casinos in Paris would be detrimental for the 700 employees of the Enghien casino as well as for the gaming establishments in Normandy or the Opal Coast. The FO delegate also supports the playing circles still active in the capital.

Moreover, Paris is not in possession of the tourist label which favors Sunday work. It is thus difficult for casinos to offer a service 7 days a week unless of course if they are installed in the seven tourist areas of affluence of the capital. Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet does not fail to point the finger at the Town Hall team by accusing them of only being interested in money. For information, the establishment of a casino in Paris could bring in between 10 and 30 million euros in tax revenue.

If the project materializes, a professional in the sector thinks of medium-sized establishments with around 10 tables, 150 to 200 slot machines and 150 employees. The London model is often cited as a reference.

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