European Poker Liquidity Framework Signing on July 6thJuly 4, 2017 1:01 pm
After years of stagnation, Europe’s separate online poker markets may soon receive a huge boost as France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal push on with their plan to form an integrated, shared pool of players. With this purpose in mind, representatives from each of these countries’ gaming authorities will hold a meeting in Rome on Thursday, 6 July in order to sign off on a cross-border liquidity sharing framework, although actual implementation of the agreement is expected to take a while to complete. As a statement recently released by French regulator ARJEL explains:
“This agreement will set the basis for cooperation between the signing Authorities in this context and will be followed by further necessary steps within each of the jurisdictions involved in order to effectively allow for liquidity poker tables.”
Following pressure from the EU concerning restrictive gaming laws, France passed the Gambling Act in 2010 allowing for a licensed and regulated online gambling market in the country. The decision to opt for a segregated, ring-fenced poker market, however, subsequently led to disappointing online poker revenues, with the experience also repeated across other major European markets.
In response to a declining market, France has since been debating sharing it poker players with other countries to improve the health of the industry, although progress has been frustrating. In 2015, for instance, the former Minister for the Economy Emmanuel Macron rejected one such proposal. In the meantime, countries such as France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal have had to sit on the sidelines and watch the UK’s open online gambling market go from strength to strength, and between April 2015 and May 2016 the sector accounted for 33% of the country’s overall regulated gambling market.
That may soon be a thing of the past, though. Furthermore, once implemented, the European liquidity sharing agreement will be studied with great interest by US states, which might just be motivated to adopt regulation and sharing compacts of their own if the experience of the Europeans turns out to be a positive one.