France has finally
legalised international poker liquidity sharing after the country’s Senate
passed a new wide-ranging bill concerning digital and internet technology.
The Law for a Digital
Republic was passed unanimously, with 323 Senators voting in favour and 23
abstaining. It includes a number of gambling-related elements, with the
clause allowing for international poker liquidity the most noteworthy.
include methods for combating gambling addiction and allowing the
country's gambling regulator, L'Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne
(ARJEL), to act as mediator in disputes between iGaming operators and players,
as well as giving legal protections to eSports competitions.
The liquidity sharing
tenet appears to only allow agreements with jurisdiction which have an existing
cooperation agreement with France, and the exact conditions for pooling
players are yet to be finalised, meaning that it is unlikely that we will
see liquidity sharing this year.
It nonetheless represents
a victory for ARJEL, which has long fought for pooled liquidity but has failed
to get the support of the Senate.
With regard to
addiction controls, ARJEL has been given greater autonomy to pursue any method
it believes appropriate, working with any relevant party, to ensure a high
level of protection and high standard of treatment for players. This includes
providing players with access to their data so they can evaluate
their gambling habits.
Charles Coppolani will also now have the power to appoint mediators in
gambling-related disputes to allow for issues to be resolved more quickly. This
will be supported by a simplified sanctions procedure, giving the regulator
more power to resolve disputes.
The bill also
effectively recognises eSports as sporting events and its players as sportsmen.
This is intended to help ensure that tournaments are carried out legally
and players are protected by law.