Is Online Poker Over?

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Something that hasn’t gone unnoticed is the statement made by Charles Coppolani, the new
president of French online gaming regulator ARJEL, where he said the era of online poker is over and that the game was merely “a fad.”

Although he was referring to the French market, this has caused worry amongst seasoned poker players as Mr Coppolani controls the future of poker in France and if this is his opinion on poker, then what’s going to happen to the beloved game?

A widely known fact is that the French online poker genre can only continue to live and
grow if it gets into a deal with other European nations where they share a formal liquidity deal.

In 2010 France began digging the grave for this game when they refused to include their online casino game and poker industries in any sort of liquidity deals with other nations.

With player traffic to real cash games at an all-time low, according to a report released by ARJEL, the overall popularity of French poker has apparently reduced by a figure of 12% over four years.

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In an interview with Les Echos, Charles Coppolani refused to acknowledge the issue of a lack of liquidity and instead the fault for a drop in interest was down to a lack of inclusion of a younger market, commentating that the game was, in his mind: “Too complicated for a young audience.”

He then seemed to contradict his own idea by saying that the fall in interest in the French poker market was down to the financial crash a few years ago, completely undermining his “The game is too complicated for young market” idea merely seconds later.

Mr Coppolani even refused to admit that tournament games of French poker are incredibly
popular and are at an all-time high. Mr Coppolani it seems has the proverbial blinders on for his own idea and this may prove to be a final killing blow for French poker.

What’s doubly infuriating is that Mr Coppolanis predecessor, Jean Francois Vilotte publicly said that the French poker market could be saved by including liquidity with other European nation’s online poker markets.

This would result in creating a wider range of poker games that can be used by French casino sites. He even said that the failing popularity was down to other players moving out of France or playing on a number of illegal gambling websites that had a wider range of games, instead of playing at home grown websites.

However this appeal went unheard by the French government who outright refused to admit the fault and still hasn’t even attempted to share liquidity of its sites with other countries.

It seems that France’s online poker market is slowly going to die off thanks to an inept man refusing to see the facts. It doesn’t help he’s supported by a counterpart in the French government, Economic Affairs Committee Rapporteur, Razzy Hammadi even believes that French Poker has: “Gone a little out of fashion.”

So what does this mean for the industry? Well for the French it means a possible removal of the poker market with other games following suite, but for countries like the UK and the rest of the gambling industry as a whole, French poker probably won’t be missed.

The number of people visiting UK and other European gambling sites is at an all-time high and these figures are only set to increase. Perhaps France might serve as a stark warning to the industry about what needs to be done should these numbers ever start to drop.

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