Charles Coppolani has been named the new President of French regulator ARJEL, filling the vacancy created when Jean-François Vilotte left for the private sector.
Coppolani is a former head of the Observatoire des Jeux (ODJ), which has the mission of researching the social, health and economic impacts of gambling in order to inform government decision making.
“Conscious of the absolute necessity of protecting players against the risks of addiction which are particularly relevant in online gambling and concerned to arrange the best economic conditions for the operators who have made the decision to agree to and comply with the legal requirements, he will work to find the best balance between the two objectives during his tenure,” reads his appointment statement.
The new man faces a challenging period. The French Parliament is hostile to gaming reforms, but hungry for increased gambling tax revenues. It is protective of French businesses, but not prepared to make the changes that will enable them to operate profitably in the regulated gambling sector. Online poker appears to be in inexorable decline.
Villotte tried to get taxes changed and create international shared liquidity pools to stem the loss of poker players to the gray market, which would give licensed operators a chance to make a profit in the regulated market.
The Socialist Party-dominated parliament rejected his legislative proposals.
Coppolani’s background is as a lawyer in government service, rising through a variety of public service roles to be simultaneously the Président of the ODJ and head of financial and economic control at the French Ministry of Economics and Finance. He also lectures at the University of Law, Economics and Social Sciences in Paris.