Initially this closure was just a rumour but now it is a reality. Players who smoke can’t bear to remain in a game that can last for several hours without smoking.

For most gamblers the law banning smoking in casinos which came into effect at the beginning of July 2011 is a constraint because they want to be at ease while they gamble.

In fact poker requires concentration during the game and for smokers it makes sense to have a cigarette in such a situation.Poker became fashionable 5 or 6 years ago and remains popular for many people. Unfortunately for this group the poker tables in Knokke and Dinant have also had to close.

The Partouche group has declared that this has been caused by the smoking ban which is making players flee. When the ban was imposed in 2011the casino lost about 50% of its players. The casino decided to stop and to make the staff who worked at the poker tables redundant. They were not profitable and the Belgian tax on casinos isn’t the lowest.

A spokesperson for the Partouche group explained that the aim of casinos is to make a profit and that both of these were lower due to the anti smoking law and taxation. He confirmed that poker isn’t profitable for casinos given the present level of taxation. During the poker boom, many players arrived en masse at the casinos and at that time the casinos could make a profit.

Some casinos are trying to survive and develop but on the other hand others are not reacting to this worsening situation. We must remember that a proposed law on the quite strict restrictions in relation to clubs is being examined at the moment. A lot of people thought that this would work in favour of the casinos, it must be noted that certain casinos are suffering financially at the moment due to the present conditions in.

The problem definitely needs to be closely looked into by people who know the sector well so that all those involved benefit from this situation.

The situation is different in the Spa Casino 26km from Chaudfontaine where under the management of another owner the game carries on.

The Circus group shows that traditional games will still have their place in the future. It claimed that the lower number of players who smoke was affecting all types of games. In contrast to other games poker requires more staff. During this time of economic downturn tips are rare and the casino is doing all it can to make up for the dealers’ losses.

This loss is felt strongly by the group and it is the reason why it hopes that there will at some point be a change in the taxation of casinos.