Spain Ready to License Online Poker Operators For Shared Liquidity9 months ago
All signs point to Spain, France, Portugal and Italy continuing to progress toward sharing online poker player pools in 2018, with gaming regulators in Spain at the ready to dole out licenses.
The last days of 2017 saw Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) - the Spanish gaming regulator - announce the signing of a resolution authorizing shared liquidity with the other three nations. The four countries have heretofore been ring-fencing their respective online poker markets, limiting player pools and stunting growth.
The plan to expand beyond their individual borders began taking shape last July when the four countries agreed to join forces in hopes of boosting online poker revenue. Since then, France's gaming regulator, ARJEL, issued its first such liquidity-sharing license, with PokerStars.fr as the recipient.
Italy Trails the Pack
That puts Spain and France on track as the first two nations to get the cross-border player pool ball rolling, possibly within Q1 of the new year. Portugal and Italy are expected to eventually follow, however, politicians in the latter country continue to express misgivings about the plan, citing the possibility of money laundering.
Also making waves in Italy has been Lottomatica, with the gaming operator noting that PokerStars may hold an advantage over the rest considering that The Stars Group is already licensed in each of the four markets. Observers have opined that Italy's participation in the liquidity-sharing scheme will not come into play until well after the March general election.
While online poker operators in the four European Union member states expect to benefit from sharing liquidity, it is the poker players who may have more reason to rejoice. As a peer-to-peer game, poker becomes more attractive to potential players when there is a larger pool of participants, be it, sharks, fish, or players of a skill level somewhere in between.
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