Monday, May 14, 2007

France Again a No-Go Zone for Poker Tournaments

The recent announcement by the National Poker League [NPL] of the cancellation of the debut event, the Paris Open, continues the current attitude of French authorities toward professional poker. Whether in the form of online sites or big events hosted by international interests, the attitude of the French right now seems to be that if it's not being run solely by a French concern, it's not allowed.

The NPL had a nice gala set to go for its kickoff event, which was scheduled to begin this coming week and run through May 22nd. Among the niceties were a high-end celebrity auction designed to bring more publicity to the new tour, which now moves on to the August U.K. Open in search of a friendlier venue.

It's a sad turn of affairs for French poker stars, and it's only going to get worse in the short term. France's new president-elect, Nicolas Sarkozi, is a staunch gambling foe who's made his stance on the issue quite clear. Worse, Tony Blair's resignation as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is likely to bring Finance Minister Gordon brown to power, and it was Brown who single-handedly torpedoed previous British plans to move forward with an affordable major-nation regulatory base for Internet gambling companies.

It means that we're likely to witness a heightened battle over Internet gambling in general in the European Court within the next year or two, as Sarkozi's new government is almost certain to test its will against the European Union's recently established open-market precedent. In this case, 'open market' equals greater freedom for online gambling in most forms, which runs quite counter to the state-run lotteries Sarkozi seeks to protect.

No bets on who'll win, either. In a lot of ways, walls are being erected right now.

No comments: