France Says "NON" To iPoker Liquidity Sharing

France regulated its online poker industry in 2010, but ever since revenues have been in decline as the country’s ring-fenced market has lacked the liquidity to attract players. In fact, one estimate puts the number of French residents shunning the country’s regulated market to play on international, unlicensed websites to be as high as 47%.
In order to to prevent France’s iPoker market drying up all together, it has been suggested that the country pools its players with those of other European countries, thus following a more progressive model like the one adopted by the UK. In November 2013, France’s iGaming regulator, ARJEL, subsequently tried to convince the French National Assembly to introduce amendments to France’s digital law to allow for player sharing across the EU, but its proposal was ultimately rejected.
Recently, ARJEL tried once more to make its case for player sharing at the French National Assembly, but once again its proposal was dismissed, leaving France’s online poker players isolated once more in an ever shrinking pond.
Every year, France’s poker market has experienced a contraction in its revenues, and 2015 was no exception with revenues shrinking by 4% to €232 million ($252 million), and player participation also falling by 4%. On the other hand, the country’s overall gambling market has fared considerably better, and in particular sports betting, which noted an impressive 30% improvement in business to €1.44 billion ($1.56 billion) last year.
Unfortunately, France’s government sees online poker as too much trouble compared to other gambling games which do not require large player pools to survive. The country therefore is unwilling to organize complex arrangements to share that part of its gambling industry with those of other countries, especially when top politicians, such as Socialist Party deputy Razzy Hammadi, view the game as “a little out of fashion today.”
France is not the only European country with a struggling, ring-fenced online poker market, though, and despite obvious advantages to combining their separate players pools, countries such as Portugal, Spain, and Italy continue to restrict the activities of their players to within their own borders.

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