Winamax, the top ranked poker site in France, has launched a free-play online poker site available to U.S. residents. It hopes to build a database of customers with the goal of transitioning to real-money play upon enactment of U.S. legislation.
Players can play for free and compete for cash prizes at winamaxpoker.com, and can gain access to the site via Facebook and other mobile gaming devices such as Android and iPad. Currently ranked 7th overall in the worldwide online poker market according to recent PokerScout tabulations, Winamax boasts of being the only site to succeed in “pushing [PokerStars] into second place” in a local, regulated market.
“Because real money poker is currently not authorized in the United States, we have put together a play money offer designed to encourage real poker play and offer an experience as close to the real thing as possible,” the Winamax website states. Taking a jab at other sites that continued to offer online poker services in the U.S. despite the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006, the site further states that, “Unlike some, we have chosen to offer real-money games only in regulated markets, where so doing is both safe and legal.”
Winamax executives are confident that their success in operating the leading Internet poker site in a heavily-regulated French market positions them well to expanding into a newly-regulated U.S. marketplace.
“The fiscal and regulatory structure is so complex in France that we feel that we would know how to navigate any American model, either interstate or federal,” Winamax CEO Canel Frichet said to eGaming Review earlier this year.
Frichet also stated that Winamax is open to entering into partnership deals with brick and mortar casinos in the U.S. to take part in an expected burgeoning Internet poker marketplace when legislation is eventually in place.