A New Online Poker Boom?2 years ago
PokerStars, 888poker, PartyPoker and the other online poker networks that operate legally in the EU might soon take a much-needed breath of fresh air as France is finally ready to join the global player pool.
According to the French media, the Senate voted last Wednesday the “Bill for a Digital Republic” which ensures among others “an open digital environment” for all citizens. Yes, that means the French will soon have much more options when it comes to online poker as they will be able to join EU licensed sites other than the ones localized in France - such as PokerStars.fr, Winamax or Partypoker.fr. This is the first time since 2010 the global player pool will include French users.
Six years ago, France segregated its poker pool from the rest of the world in an attempt to better control online gambling. However, the act had many downfalls as the liquidity decreased considerably from one year to another. As a result, the French authorities including the central regulator ARJEL started reconsidering their position and tried to find new, more efficient ways to keep the online gambling business running. The first major move happened earlier this year, in May, when the Senate voted three amendments that gave ARJEL the power to negotiate with other EU jurisdictions in order to establish a shared player pool for online poker.
Now, the Senate have finally taken the big leap and allowed the French poker players to also look beyond their borders and play online poker with other EU fellow citizens.
The bill is set to become a law in the next couple of weeks, after president Francois Hollande signs it.
Is Spain, Portugal and Italy Next?
The “Bill for a Digital Republic” is just the first step in making online poker global again. Spain, Portugal and Italy might soon join France and open their ‘digital’ borders as those countries are concerned too about the negative effects of the segregation. Italy segregated its player pool in 2010 like France, while Spain made the move two years later. Portugal announced a ring-fenced online poker environment almost one year ago.
All three participated last month at an informal gambling forum in Paris where the possibility of a shared player pool was discussed in-depth. France, UK and Germany were also part of that forum.
According to Online Poker Report, all regulators admitted segregation was actually a mistake as the fees for the players are much higher compared to the non-segregated markets and the black market is gaining more and more ground. Since the games are scarce, more players from the segregated markets take risks and join banned poker sites and that affects the gambling revenue greatly.
It is unclear when the three countries will make the necessary steps to go global yet France set a great example and we at PokerTube are really optimistic that a new poker boom is bound to happen sooner rather than later. Won’t you agree?
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