Jean-François Vilotte, president of France’s gambling regulator ARJEL, announced late last week that he will be leaving his post in January to join a firm in the private sector.
Vilotte has headed up the ARJEL since 2009 and has played an integral role in the establishment of France's Internet gambling regulation. When the country's regulated iGaming market launched in 2010, the ARJEL contacted unlicensed operators and forced them to cease offering services to French customers, eventually blocking access to the unregulated sites.
He has since been in charge of overseeing the French market, ensuring the safety and fairness of gambling operations and the protection of gamblers.
As far as poker is concerned, Vilotte was at the helm when the ARJEL awarded a gaming license to Caesars Interactive Entertainment and approved the World Series of Poker to hold a series in France. Caesars moved the WSOP Europe from London to Cannes in 2011, and then to Enghien-les-Bains in 2013.
Vilotte and the ARJEL also made headlines in July 2011 when the regulator suspended Full Tilt Poker as a licensed operator in France due to the interruption of access to the site after Black Friday.
Online poker has struggled in France of late. Vilotte has been calling for changes to the law that would allow for shared liquidity with other regulated markets. Currently, French players are restricted from playing opponents located outside the country, and online poker revenue has taken a severe hit over the past year.
Vilotte has not commented on his reason for leaving but is expected to provide more details later this week.