French Court Rules Online Poker as a Game of Skill

Published Tuesday, August 02, 2011 -

France recently opened up it online gambling jurisdiction with a licensing and regulatory platform that complied with European Commission rules. Controversy surrounded the move by France that maintains a high standard and high cost for obtaining online gambling licenses.

A legal case went to court in France arguing that Texas Hold’em poker was a game of skill and not pure chance after main defendant Jean-Pierre Gleizes, who is the manager of Les Coulisses and St Tropez, as well as others, were accused of organizing private poker events in public venues without holding a valid license issued by the French authorities.
French website  has revealed that a French court in Toulouse has ruled that poker should not be considered a game of chance.  The country’s government appealed against that decision toute sweet. The decision has created a storm of controversy because poker, if it is determined to be a game of skill rather than chance will contravene the European Unions rules and regulations regarding online gambling within the member states.

The French Criminal Court of First Instance   sided with the accused  in the opinion that poker should be seen as a game of skill. Their argument was backed up by expert witnesses such as a professional poker player, as well as national champions in chess and bridge, as well as a mathematics professor who also plays the game.  The appeal will go to the  country’s Supreme Court, Conseil d’Etat where the outcome could severely affect the rules regarding poker in France.
Professional poker player will have to pay income tax on their winnings should the Supreme court uphold the decision of the lower court. The government is receiving pressure to revamp the law to include games of skill. If this is not done operators may very well be able to avoid getting the expensive licenses and paying the fees required to offer the game to the public.



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