Poker in countries like Italy, Spain and France have experienced a significant decline in the recent past. So when government officials from Singapore visited France earlier this year to study its online poker market and its progression since legalizing online poker in 2010, many poker players in France voiced their concerns.
This is because most online poker players in France feel that the due to the strict laws that govern online poker in France, the market has experienced a steady decline.
Now, nearly 47% of online poker players in France choose illegal poker websites to play and make a living. Singaporean officials met with ARJEL, the gambling regulator in France and discussed “the French regulatory model which is known for its strict requirements and performance“.
Singapore is considering rolling out a number of changes with regards to online poker and are looking to study regulated online poker markets and formulate a best practice approach.
Earlier this year, ARJEL president Charles Coppolani recognized the decline in online poker and stated that the popularity of poker in France is declining steadily. Yet, many poker players in France tend to disagree with Coppolani and suggest that if there were a change in policy and strategy, the online poker market in France will experience a significant turnaround.
Julien “JunkyBoy” Ferey, a poker coach and one of the rising stars of online poker in France firmly disagreed with ARJEL and its predictions of the poker market in France. Ferey said that
When I look around myself, I still see a great enthusiasm about the game. I believe there is still a good margin to innovate and to create something new.
Yet it’s not just France that has experienced a dip in online poker. Other European countries such as Italy and Spain have also experienced a significant decline in online poker. This is one of the reasons why Ferey along with other members of the poker community propose a pan-European online poker operation.
The poker community in Europe believe that if France, Italy and Spain collaborate and create a pan-European competitive poker market, not only will it increase the player pool and prize money but it will bring in a new surge of customers and increase the visibility of online poker in Europe.
There have been talks in the past of creating a pan-European online poker market but no action has been taken yet. Julien Ferey believes that while it may not be possible to create a pan-European online poker market in 2014, it could become a reality in 2015.