Officials turn the deaf ear to Jean-François Vilotte’s proposals for improving the online poker industry
Despite repeated recommendations from Jean-François Vilotte, president of online gambling regulator ARJEL, French gambling laws will not be changing anytime soon. An important amendment initiated by ARJEL was rejected by the National Assembly after a very short debate held this week.
The amendment would have allowed online poker sites in France to share liquidity with other EU operators. With online gambling now being legal in France, Italy and Spain, it was rumored that plans were being made to create a pan-European licensed online poker market.
Vilotte has also asked the government to change the existing tax policies, from turnover tax to a system based on gross gaming revenue.
No means no
The government disapproved of these amendments, with Razzy Hammadi – member of the Committee on Economic Affairs – being the most fervent opponent. Hammadi said that any stagnation on the French online market is due to the fact that poker is “a little out of fashion”, and not taxes or other government restrictions.
His fellow committee member, Damien Abad, reminded the Assembly that it was they themselves who asked ARJEL president Vilotte for advice, only to end up disregarding it.
Last week Jean-François Vilotte announced he would be stepping down as president of ARJEL two years before the end of his contract and taking a job in the private sector. Some believe this is due to the French government’s refusal to take his advice.