Shared Poker Liquidity Advances in Spain and France But Faces Del

Posted by Carolyn on Jan 07, 2018 Posted in Poker Industry News | No Comments »

Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal all agreed that they would share European poker player liquidity and signed an agreement to that effect in the middle of 2017. There was no specifications given as to when European shared player liquidity would come into effect but market analysts expected it to happen in early 2018. Things are not going as per plan, especially for Italy as the other three countries have taken steps towards European poker player liquidity but Italy has not come across as very interested.

France And Spain Making Steady Progress

Only France and Spain seem to be eager to move forward with European poker player liquidity, with France’s Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL) and Spain’s Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ) taking the necessary steps to move forward with shared liquidity.

French gaming regulator ARJEL recently announced on their website that they will soon be able to offer poker tables to both Spanish and French players in the next few weeks. DGOJ, was more specific and announced right before the New Year that the resolution that approved the shared liquidity has already been signed. It will officially go into effect when the official State Gazette publishes it later this month. This matches the French announcement of seeing Spanish and French players being seated at the same virtual poker table in just a few weeks.

Portugal And Italy Making Slow Progress

Portugal and Italy are a bit slower on the draw. Portugal has already taken the first steps with amendments already being made to the 2018 state budget. The trouble stems from the slowness of the license issuance. After a long period of non-issuance, Portugal started issuing gaming licenses in May 2016. Since then, only 11 new licenses were issued, with just one for online poker. Regulatory delays are the main hurdle to the goal of shared player pools in Portugal, though steps are definitely being taken in the right direction.

The situation in Italy is a bit more problematic. There are more licensing delays, while many local gaming industry personalities have raised their voice against the shared liquidity goal. This objection has seen support from local politicians who want to stop Italian involvement in this project.

One of the louder voices is Guiliano Frostini, the public affairs director of IGT. IGT is a slot-focused gaming company with a large Italian presence. Frostini has complained about shared poker player liquidity with France stating that shared liquidity could result in weakening Italian gaming policies. This objection was further taken up by Franco Mirabelli, a politician from the Democratic party. He cited that the increased sharing between countries would result in weaker protections for Italian players.

Despite these objections, online gambling operators are already moving towards Italian integration. French poker operator Winamax already acquired an Italian gaming license and has signed Italian poker pro Mustapha Kanit as its brand ambassador while 888 Holdings is also prepared to launch in Italy with the new addition of an online poker room.

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