France Agrees iPoker Liquidity Sharing AgreementOctober 3, 2016 10:14 am
In May, the French Senate voted in favor of adopting an amendment to the country’s digital bill that would allow for shared poker liquidity with other European nations. Four months later, and the French Parliament has finally finalized the bill, thus paving the way for French poker players to legitimately compete against a much larger player pool. French President Francois Hollande is now expected to sign off on the bill within the next two weeks.
France’s online poker industry has been suffering declines since launch as its ring-fenced market created a particularly unattractive environment for players, and yet the country has up until now resisted calls to open its market up to other large EU countries such as Italy and Spain. The recent progressive move, however, has been haled as an important step towards returning French poker revenues to growth, and ultimately giving the country’s iPoker and gambling tax revenues a much-needed boost.
The amended digital bill, known as ‘Projet de loi pour une République numérique’, also sets out ways in which to combat the risk of gambling addiction, as well as introduce regulation for eSports contests. Currently, France does not offer an eSports “lottery” licensing scheme, and as an extract of the bill reads:
“Once the Digital Republic Act and its implementing decrees have come into force, they will excuse certain eSports contests from the general prohibition on lotteries if players are physically present at the competition.”
Before introducing iPoker legislation, many countries produced highly optimistic revenue forecasts for their potential industries, which subsequently proved way off the mark. It would seem that a new realistic approach is now being adopted by these countries, and even in the US the states of Nevada and Delaware have had an interstate iPoker compact in place since March 2015. Despite being extended an opportunity to join the compact, however, New Jersey has been unwilling to follow suit and continues to go it alone.