An EU Online Poker Liquidity Compact by Summer?April 25, 2017 11:20 am
Big plans are afoot to deliver on the promise made by several European countries last year to launch a shared online poker player pool with other major EU markets by mid-summer. According to media reports, negotiations on a potential compact have now reached their final stage, with Italy, Portugal, France, and Spain all involved, and even Austria, Germany and the UK joining the discussions.
A chief priority of the current negotiations is finding a way to overcome two main challenges associated with merging the disparate markets, namely organizing a level of online poker taxation uniformity between the various jurisdictions, as well as ensuring certain technical standards are achieved, especially as they relate to cash games.
When the main European markets launched their respective online poker industries several years ago, they decided to restrict the game to only those players located within their own countries. As a result, while their overall online gambling markets appear to be thriving, the lack of liquidity has led to a declining market as far as poker is concerned. In 2016, for instance, Italy iGaming industry generated revenues of €1.03 billion, up by 25% compared to the previous year. While all of its vertices noted year-on-year growth, however, Online poker continued to slide and contracted by 10% to €133 million in 2016.
Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and other EU countries joining forces could therefore be one of the most exciting developments to hit the industry in years, and there is even talk that if successful, European regulators may decide to extend their collaboration to other gambling areas, such as betting exchanges.
In the meantime, according to the latest pokerscout traffic report PokerStars.es is leading Europe’s ring-fenced poker markets with an average of 1,400 cash players over a 7-day period, followed by Winamax.fr with 1000 players, then PokerStars.it (850), PokerStars.fr (550), PokerStars.pt (525), PartyPoker.fr (350), and iPoker.it (300).