France and Spain are both so close to sharing their virtual poker tables for the very first time thanks to the European shared poker liquidity agreement.
The shared liquidity agreement was signed in mid-2017 when gaming regulators from Spain, France, Portugal and Italy finally agreed that it was in their best interests to move forward with online poker player shared liquidity.
Before 2017 ended, Spanish gaming regulator Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) inked a new resolution that authorized Spanish-licensed online poker licensees to open their online poker tables to their counterparts in Italy, France, and Portugal. The new resolution signed by the Spanish gaming regulator will soon make this a reality.
Spain’s online poker market has struggled for a number of years due to poor traffic, stringent regulations and unlicensed operators. While Spain’s online poker market witnessed a mild revenue shoot up in October, growth was still too little and tax collections from the industry were not enough. The players’ desire for deeper player pools and Spain’s prospect for bigger revenue has influenced the country to join hands with its neighbouring countries who have also been experiencing a sluggish online poker industry.
The resolution will come into effect once the announcement is published in the Official State Gazette towards the end of this month. According to the resolution the shared liquidity licenses will then be issued shortly after it comes out in the Gazette. Apart from Spain, France has also made huge strides in keeping to the shared liquidity time table. The French regulator Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL) already made an announcement on their website that the Franco-Spanish poker tables will soon be available.
Once Spain starts issuing online poker liquidity licenses in the coming weeks, one of the first operators that is expected to open their online poker rooms in Spain and France is PokerStars. PokerStars.fr, the online poker operator currently operating in France is the first online poker operator to receive the necessary licenses to share its player pools. PokerStars is also poised to become the biggest cross-country operator since it’s already present in all the four countries.
888 Holdings is closing in as well, having just launched 888Poker in Italy last week. But while Spain and France are making progress in the implementation of the online poker liquidity agreement, Italy and Portugal continue to lag behind.