The legalisation of online gaming in France couldn’t have taken place without the creation of an Authority for the Regulation of Online Gaming (Arjel). The mission of this independent administrative authority is to deliver licences and to make sure that the operators respect a clearly defined list of regulations; to protect players and to fight against all types of addiction, against fraud and money laundering and illegal sites. Concerning this last point, there is a lot of work to do because there are many sites in the online gaming market without licences. Some operators haven’t hesitated to by pass the law by basing themselves in tax havens.The fight against illegal gaming concerns all types of games including those that take place within closed circles. The Brigade for the Suppression of Crime (BRB) is engaged in dismantling these closed gaming circles which have multiplied especially since poker has become so popular. In one year it has succeeded in closing down these circles which are very popular with Parisian players such as the Wagram circle, the Haussemann circle…In this month of June, the BRB aided by the Search and Intervention Brigade (BRI) laid hands on a poker gaming circle which took place in the 8th district in Paris. After a long and meticulous investigation, they succeeded in dismantling the clandestine games which took place in two very chic apartments. The amateur and professional players needed to have a good income because to join this gaming circle one had to pay a 10 000 buy in and leave a blank cheque in the event of the poker game ending badly. According to the first reports, some celebrities were among these privileged clients but the police is taking care to protect their anonymity.

Two organisers and three dealers were arrested at dawn leaving the apartment. While searching the premises the police found 77 000 euros in cash. The organisers face up to seven years in prison and a 150 000 euro fine but the players won’t be charged. The BRB will most likely be in the news again over the next few months given the amount of illegal gaming circles which have appeared all over France.