French Court Rules Poker is a Game of Skill

French Court Rules Poker is a Game of Skill

04 Aug 2011 | 17:46 Author: Seth Shafer

The Tribunal de Grande Instance in Toulouse has ruled that poker is a game of skill in an important case that could have a major impact on online casino and poker sites in France.

A French court has made a somewhat surprising decision concerning a case brought before it arguing that poker is a game of skill and not a game of chance like other casino games such as Craps or Blackjack.

The "surprising" part of the decision isn't so much that the court found poker to be a game of skill -- as that belief is shared by millions of poker players and backed up by plenty of evidence -- but that it reversed other decisions dating back several hundred years that had always ruled poker to be a game of chance.

French laws regarding online gambling and which sites are given licenses to serve French customers are all based on language that specifically states that they can provide "games of chance", so the decision could have a real impact on online gambling firms operating in France.

The French government is expected to appeal the decision, but if it stands it could open the door to allow online poker sites to offer games to French citizens without a license from the French government, as well as avoiding having to pay the current taxes levied on online operators.

The French government is also considering proactively changing its laws to include games of skill as well, so it could become a moot point in the end; classifying poker as a game of skill would also have other impacts, including forcing French poker pros to start claiming any winnings as taxable income.

Testimony in the current class arguing that poker is a game of skill included a diverse set of people, with a national bridge and chess champion, a mathematics professor, and a professional poker player all chiming in to argue on the skill side of the equation.

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