France is losing the great game of poker! The world-famous Aviation Club de France (ACF) just went into judicial liquidation after being closed for five months. The club was raided and closed last year by the French Judicial Police. Administration of the club announced that authorities will not renew the club's license and that puts the final nail in the coffin to end 100 years of gaming history in the historic club.
Located on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the gambling club went dark when the police raided and closed the room.
The closure of the club sent 213 employees out onto the streets with no income. Many French and international people hoped to make the plight of the employees and the importance of the club known and worked at getting it reopened by the Grand Instance Court in Paris, but to no avail. Some of those speaking in favor of the club, Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree, World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Fabrice Soulier, World Poker Tour champion Bruno Lopes, and other players known throughout the poker world like Antoine Saout and Bruno Fitoussi, started a campaign — "#bringbackACF" — to bring attention to the need to reestablish the venue
"For the past 107 years, the Aviation Club de France has welcomed hundreds and hundreds of players and has always operated within the legal framework defined by the state," the management of the club told PokerNews.com in an open letter sent to France’s President François Hollande.
"For the past 107 years, at the Aviation Club the France people have amused themselves and have even created businesses that have generated revenues for the State. The death of this "old lady" would lead to the creation of dozens of illegal and dangerous activities that would not bring anything to the State. Are you ready, Mr. President, to legitimate the birth of such a clandestine network?" the letter said.
The end of an era has arrived, poker history takes another turn down a dark road that finds France losing an important part of its gambling culture and opportunity.
French poker veteran and former PMU pro Philippe Ktorza, believes the club's closure is the beginning of the end, the "death of poker" in France.
Ktorza believes that the inaction of everyone that could help the game survive in France is due to wanting to avoid a dispute with the authorities. "Poker is dying, and we all look at it without doing anything."
"Us, the players, have no power," Ktorza went on. "An assembly of all the people involved in the French poker industry, event organizers, rooms, operators, press — they could have started a debate and they could have tried to save poker in France."
The Cercle Haussmann, another popular poker club in the French capital, was closed on January 15th and the Association Cercle Cadet, was put in judicial liquidation by the country's authorities after it was raided and closed.
Poker players in Paris are limited to the Cercle Clichy Montmartre now but that may change soon according to Team PKR pro Patty Beaumier who told PokerNews.com that it "operateds with a license that is valid only until 2016."