888Poker Gives Up French Gambling License

Only 22 licensees left in tax-heavy French online poker market
Online gambling operators in the tax-heavy French market appear to be voting with their feet, with the latest departures whittling the number of licenses down to just 33, held by 22 companies, according to French media reports.
Significantly, this week the major international operator 888.com became the latest to depart, requesting regulator ARJEL to cancel its licensing, and joining Pokersubito.fr operator Ad Astra and Betkup owner Sofun Gaming in exiting the market.
888 partnered with Microgaming on the internet poker front in France, and its departure is therefore noteworthy as a further blow to the growth of the French market and player liquidity.
2012 has seen a growing list of major online poker companies pulling out of France, citing limited player liquidity and high taxation.
In response, ARJEL chief Jean-Francois Villotte has undertaken to lobby government on operator concerns, but has stressed that policy on the question of maintaining a ring-fenced player pool and taxation rest in government hands.
Meanwhile online poker revenues in the French market have declined by 5 percent, according to most recent ARJEL reports, and in the sports betting sector high taxation has deterred many top international companies from applying for French licensing.