Tuesday August 2,2011 : But the state has appealed
A report in the French publication Madeinpoker attracted plenty of attention and comment at the respected poker information site twoplustwo this week, advising that a French court has ruled that Texas Hold'Em poker is a game more of skill than chance. The distinction is important because, as a game of skill, the game is not in general terms subject to gambling laws.
The case originated in accusations against primary defendant Jean-Pierre Gleizes, manager of "Les Coulisses” and others, who were charged with organising private poker competitions in public venues without a licence.
The French Criminal Court of First Instance in Toulouse supported the defence view that poker was more a game of skill than chance after hearing expert evidence from a professional poker player, national champions in bridge and chess, and a professor of mathematics who is also a poker player.
The prosecution has already appealed the decision, and the final ruling will rest with the Conseil d'Etat (Supreme Court).
One knowledgeable poster at twoplustwo opined that there was little chance of the higher court going along with the decision, but that if it did there could be far-reaching consequences, including:
– Poker would no longer fall under the games covered by the Online Gaming Bill that recently regulated the French market. Operators could escape licensing, fees and taxes.
– The impact on live poker rooms at casinos and cardrooms.
– Tax consequences. Poker income would become 100 percent taxable as a game of skill.
The poster pointed out that there is already a political proposal to expand the Online Gaming Bill to games of skill.