888Poker Launches Italian Facing Online Poker Room

Posted by Carolyn on Jan 08, 2018 Posted in Poker Industry News | No Comments »

UK based 888Holdings, the parent company of 888poker announced quite a few months earlier that they were making plans to enter the Italian gaming market. Since then, there hasn’t been a lot of news from 888poker regarding their Italian venture. The online poker operator confirmed last week that they had launched a brand new online poker site in Italy.

888Poker Italy Now Live

888Poker.it is now live in Italy and joins 888Holdings several other Italian-facing casino and sports-betting sites. Now Italian poker players can join the virtual tables via 888Poker’s iOS and Android mobile apps, or through the desktop app. 888Poker is poised to market their new offering aggressively and has scheduled a number of print and television advertisements. The operator is also running several promotions on the site to attract more players to join their poker pools.

Under the slogan “Il Gioco inizia adesso!” which means “Let the games begin!” 888Poker offers a free €8 upon registration. Players will get a non-commitment €4 (€2 in cash and two €1 tickets) as soon as they register, and another €4 (four €1 tickets) upon verification of documents. Registering also gets players enrolled automatically to the operator’s loyalty program, where they can earn points and redeem rewards for various 888poker products.

888 Holdings first announced its plans to enter the Italian market in September, just months after Portugal, France, Italy, and Spain inked the shared liquidity agreement that would enable the countries to share their online poker pools. 888poker was able to get their plans together in four months mainly due to their experience dealing with Italian gaming regulators and due to the already set-up infrastructure from their sports betting websites.

888Poker Looking At European Shared Liquidity

888’s CEO Itai Frieberger made it clear that their efforts to open in Italy emanate largely from the potential EU market the shared liquidity will open to them. But it looks like their efforts will be in vain with the agreement facing local opposition in Italy.

This month, France and Spain have made huge strides in doing their part in the shared liquidity agreement. This week, French online gambling regulator Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL) announced on their website that the Franco-Spanish poker tables will open in the next few weeks. Spain has also been making preparations having just signed a resolution that will accommodate the terms of the shared liquidity agreement.

But while France and Spain are keeping to the time table, Italy is lagging behind. In October, Democratic Party Senator Franco Mirabelli called lawmakers to review and prevent the shared liquidity agreement. According to Mirabelli, the shared liquidity will open Italians to greater risks of an unmanaged system and will create more opportunities for money laundering.

Mirabelli was backed by many industry leaders such as Giorgio Pastorino, who is the chairman of the Totoricevitori Sport Union (STS). STS currently offers sports-themed lottery and betting products in Italy. Italy will be holding its general elections in March and many believe that the debate over the shared poker liquidity will only be settled after the elections.

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