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Live Real money Texas Hold’em Poker tournaments legalized out of casinos in France

January 9, 2009 2009

After a crisis meeting with casino representatives in the middle of November, the French Home Affairs Minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie promised to reflate the casino industry by authorizing the organization of live real money Texas Hold’em tournaments out of the confines of casinos but under their control and responsibility. The 24 December 2008 decree concerning casino games concretizes this proposal.

Live real money poker tournaments have become more and more popular, and casino managers needed more flexibility to organize such tournaments. According to casinos representatives, even if this point was not one of the major priorities to relaunch the sector (1), it will have a positive impact.

The 24 December 2008 decree modifies an important decree of 14 May 2007 which introduced Texas Hold’em Poker into casinos for the first time and specified detailed rules concerning the different sequences of the game. The scope of these decrees is limited to casino games’ regulation.

Article 19 of the 2008 decree specifies that “casinos can organize texas hold’em poker tournaments, with prizes at stake, in their gaming room or in premises guaranteeing the same level of sincerity and security in games operations”.

From this article we can infer that the responsibility to ensure sincerity and security in games operations rests on casinos shoulders as though the tournament took place in their own premises.

In order to ensure transparency, tournament rules and conditions shall be transmitted to public authorities and notably to the Home Affair Ministry at least twenty one days before the event.

The decree does not specify any territorial limit to the organization of live real money Texas Hold’em Poker tournaments. In theory, a casino is thus authorized to organize such tournament every where in France as long as honesty and security are ensured.

The decree also relaxes the regime applicable to preliminary tournaments (2) originally limited to 100 per casino and per year. The amount of such tournaments is no more restricted and following article 20, casinos are no longer required to award cash money to winners but can offer stakes for another tournament.

If the new decree makes casino games’ regulation look more flexible, there is no doubt that public authorities will keep on imposing a strict control. Nevertheless these measures are favorable to casinos who are now free to organize larger and plentiful events.

(1) Casinos’ representatives firstly requested a tax suspension and the right to operate casino games online

(2) Small tournaments in which the winner gets the right to take part in a major tournament at least cost. Such tournaments are organized before the main event to attract more people to major tournaments.

Source: Arrêté du 24 décembre 2008 relatif à la réglementation des jeux dans les casinos, JORF n°0303 du 30 décembre 2008 page 20411, texte n° 40, NOR: IOCD0829527A


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