Less than a week after the conclusion of the 2015 European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event in Deauville, France, the EPT announced that the beautiful city in Normandy will not be part of the upcoming Season 12 schedule.
"Our contract to hold EPT events in Deauville has now reached its natural conclusion," Rebecca McAdam, Senior Manager of Public Relations at PokerStars and Full Tilt, told PokerNews.
According to the series' organisers, however, the decision to keep Deauville out of the next EPT season does not indicate the end of their cooperation with the Barriere Group, as McAdam stated that "[the] partnership with Barriere will continue with exciting FPS stops to be announced soon."
"We are grateful to our partners at Barriere, the staff, and the people of the town of Deauville for their hospitality over the last 11 seasons of the EPT," she added.
Speaking with PokerNews France’s Julien Tissot, Head of Barriere Casinos Eric Cavillon explained that the politics and taxation are among the main reasons behind the EPT’s choice to take Deauville off the schedule.
According to Cavillon, it was EPT President Edgar Stuchly who announced the group’s move and mentioned how much France’s gambling regulation and heavy taxation have influenced the decision.
"This is going to leave a big empty space in the calendar," Cavillon explained. He also added that he was quite "disappointed" to discover that the EPT decided not to renew its deal with Barriere.
"The EPT in Deauville has been important for France’s poker community," French poker veteran Philppe Ktorza wrote on his Facebook page as soon as the news broke. "I still remember the enthusiasm of the players for what was considered to be the event of the year."
"There are not going to be any big poker tournaments in France anymore," Ktorza continued. "To be able to play against the best international players of the game we will be obliged to leave and go to play abroad."
Ktorza also had some kind words for the people at Barriere, those who made the EPT possible in France. "My thoughts go to the people at Barriere who worked very hard on the event in Deauville. Thank you for having welcomed us during all these years."
New EPT Season 12 stops to be announced soon
Although Deauville has been part of the EPT since the very first season of the PokerStars-sponsored poker series, this is not the first time the rich city in Normandy will be off the schedule. A similar decision was made in 2007 when Deauville was left off the Season 4 calendar.
"We are excited to offer players a different European city in Season 12," PokerStars’ McAdam explained. “We will announce the remaining stops of the EPT Season 12 schedule in due course."
Rumours that Deauville would fall off the schedule had been floating around for months, especially after French Poker Series President Cèdric Billot told PokerNews that the group wanted to run a thorough evaluation of the event in Deauville before committing to another EPT season there.
"The French poker market is not the most dynamic one out there and all the EPTs are a bit on the spot,"Billot explained.
"If we exclude the few ones that have been crushing for a year or two like Barcelona and Prague, all the others are having a hard time. To say that Deauville will still be in the European Poker Tour schedule in two, three, or five years from now would not be a 100-percent safe bet," Billot announced back in November.