Charles Coppolani, the president of French gambling regulator ARJEL, has agreed to sit down with a delegation of poker players to discuss the future of the country's online poker industry.
The meeting will be held on Oct. 22 and comes as Coppolani's reaction to an article published on the poker site Poker-Academie under the title "ARJEL and the Imaginary World of Mr. Coppalini: It’s Time to Act, Now!"
"The house is burning and you are looking to the other side," accused the author of the article. "ARJEL disastrous results should not make us forget that we need to work to bring in the reforms that poker needs."
According to Poker-Academie, the French regulator has failed to help the poker industry to grow to create a safe gaming environment.
"It is possible to say that 'poker is not so popular anymore,'" the article went on quoting the first public interview Coppolani gave to the media after his arrival at the head of the gaming regulator. "But this would be only a way to hide the problems created by a regulation that did not work."
First Step of a More Ambitious Process
Coppolani became President of ARJEL in the beginning of 2014, when he replaced the regulator's founder and former head Jean-Fraçois Vilotte after this one decided to leave the presidency two years before the end of his mandate.
Since his arrival at ARJEL, Coppolani has been repeatedly accused by France's poker community to deal with the decline of the country's online poker industry with a series of ineffective actions and public awareness campaigns.
Skepticism towards ARJEL's initiatives became visible also in the comments that have followed the announcement of the meeting, as part of the country's poker community does not seem to believe that this could bring any significant change for the industry growth.
"We shouldn't dream: this meeting alone will not bring us far," wrote a French poker player on the online forum ClubPoker as a comment to the meeting promoted by ARJEL.
"It could be useful to start a communication channel between the community and the regulator," he went on. "The idea has to be to use this as a start to then (try to) work more closely to the legislators."
As the former regulator's President Vilotte said in an interview to PokerNews, the changes both players and operators believe to be vital for the future growth of France's poker industry include lower taxes and an opening to international shared liquidity in Europe.
"We need national regulations to be more flexible and regulators to have more decisional powers to effectively face market changes," Vilotte said. "Then, we also need to have a more global approach on the gambling sector and a better understanding of the market."