6/26/10 – The world’s largest online poker provider, Pokerstars.com may be prepared to tangle with the confused US legal system, but when it comes to French players the operator is playing it strictly by the book.
Judging by website notifications and comment this week on well-informed poker message boards, Pokerstars.com has now excluded French players from its main site, directing them instead to a dedicated Pokerstars.fr French site which is licensed with regulator ARJEL.
The decision has not found general favour among players, mainly because by confining their activity to action between French players, it reduces player liquidity.  The new French system is similar to that deployed by Italian regulators, where operators can only provide their services to Italian players on an Italian dedicated site.
Pokerstars.com action keeps it within the requirements of France’s newly liberalised gambling laws.
French visitors to the main Pokerstars.com site were served with a pop-up notification advising them of the decision and informing them that their account balances were safe and immediately available for withdrawal, or they could transfer to the Pokerstars.fr site.
“We will be running free tournaments on PokerStars.fr this weekend to win seats to live French Poker Series events.” PokerStars revealed, adding that the move, was “mandated by law”.
It is perhaps too early to assess the impact of the French players’ exit on the main Pokerstars.com site, but it is known that during the last Pokerstars Spring Championship of Online Poker series there were well over 27 000 French entries, or 6 percent of the total entries during the tournament. French players took home $1.62 million in prizes in the series.
Pokerstars.com is not the first to exclude French players, and follows Sportingbet, William Hill and Betfair in taking this decision