In an interesting move that further increases their poker player pool, PokerStars is allowing international players to join their French and Spanish player shared liquidity pools. PokerStars, the biggest online poker operator in the world became the first online poker operator to launch shared liquidity operations last week that catered to the Spanish and French iGaming markets.
When the online shared liquidity program was announced between Spain, France, Portugal and Italy, the impression was that online players physically present within these four countries would be allowed access to the shared liquidity poker pools. PokerStars was expected to stick to these rules and not allow poker players from other countries to participate but it appears that PokerStars will not be sticking to those guidelines for now.
For international players to join, all they need to do is register on PokerStars.ES platform. The only exception is for players who live in countries which have in place regulations that prevent them from playing online poker. However, the French PokerStars site, PokerStars.fr is not allowing anyone from outside France to register.
As PokerStars Benjamin, a Pokerstars rep on their forums explained, the decision to limit the French site is because of the company's belief that
the new shared liquidity will be of sufficient size to accommodate foreign players without negatively impacting the ecosystem, which was no longer the case in .FR before the transition to shared liquidity
As for the Spanish site, the company is just following the examples of other operators in the Spanish market. PartyPoker and 888Poker already allow for foreign players to sign up, with the original PokerStars limitation being a decision made by the company and not an actual legal restriction.
Last year, Spain, France, Portugal, and Italy agreed to make steps towards sharing their poker player pool and liquidity. This move was in hopes of revitalizing the national poker markets of each country. France and Spain have made the most progress in their attempts at shared liquidity, with their regulatory bodies issuing licenses and regulations that allowed PokerStars to start offering online poker services to players in both countries.
Portugal has mostly been quiet on its shared liquidity plans. Italy on the other hand has been very open about the objections made by local lawmakers. These two countries have fallen behind and it could take a few more months before they are prepared to launch shared liquidity poker.