While online poker continues to gain popularity across the globe and the number of online poker players increase, most countries are eager to quickly capitalize on the revenue that online poker could generate in the form of taxes, as well as the creation of job opportunities.
While the legalization of online poker is being debated in the U.S and Asia, most European countries do offer online poker.
Countries like Spain, Italy and France have been offering online poker for a number of years but have not done as well as they initially expected.
France has been one of the biggest disappointments when it comes to online poker. ARJEL, the online gaming regulator in France has for sometime predicted the decline of online poker. ARJEL went on record to state that online poker was nothing but a fad in France and would soon pass. Charles Coppolani who is the president of ARJEL stated that one of the main reasons why France never had a huge influx of online poker players was because young French players deemed online poker to be an overtly complicated game.
However, there are a number of reasons as to why the online poker market in France has faced a steady decline. The regulations that govern online poker appear to be too strict for most online poker players as high tax rates, a lack of player liquidity and the limited variety of games on offer makes the online poker scene an unattractive proposition.
ARJEL published a market report in 2013 which revealed that the online poker market lost €68 million and €88 million in 2012. The current tax rate imposed on online poker is extremely high and stands at 37%. Yet, most poker players in France think the game is alive and well because a large number of online poker players in France play at illegal poker websites where they do not have to pay such high taxes.
ARJEL confirms that during the first quarter of 2014, online gaming websites reported a 12% decline in creation of new accounts, when compared to the same quarter in 2013. The number of active accounts fell from 299,000 to 263,000 costing online gambling operators at least 10% of their revenue.
French poker players believe that if ARJEL would lower taxes and network with other European countries to form an international player pool, the game would become a lot more attractive.