This post is part of a series about European Poker Regulation
French poker is most definitely legal, and was until very recently also extremely popular. It is one of a select few forms of betting which are country legal in the country because they are not addicting: poker, horse betting, sport betting. New amendments to the current law, due in April of 2016, have the potential to shake up the French market which is planned to share liquidity with the other regulated countries in Europe.
French poker history
France was one of the very first countries to fully regulate online betting in the modern age, enforcing some pretty harsh restrictions on the market through the French Gambling Act (which was approved on May 12, 2010), a nasty byproduct of a multi-year investigation by the EC into the French betting market. The harsh regulations imposed by this law have led to some struggle in the poker ecosystem in the years since, with low year after low year, and 2015 being the worst yet. This downturn in tax revenue for the state, after what looked to be a hopeful start, may be enough of a push for the French government to reconsider the poker laws & restrictions in the country. This isn’t the first time that France considers a change, and similar amendments have been submitted in the past, only to be voted down by parliament.
French poker in 2016
France is a massive country with a massive economy and together with the two other veteran regulating countries, could create a system that will sustain a giant pool of players. Poker regulation in Italy and poker regulation in Spain are both very similar in nature to the French system, so on April the french government will have to choose if the country’s poker sites will be able to share player pools between the three countries. This change has been discussed several times in the past, and was even suggested by the French president, however this solution is obviously bitter sweet, French poker players want France to move ahead and open its borders but a limited market of only the most tightly regulated countries will be hard to expand later in the future. Nonetheless this is a welcome change, and French poker players should be advocating for this change publicly and as loudly as they can!