European Online Gambling Makes Progress in 2016

While 2016 saw no real online gambling progress made in the United States, in Europe, on the other hand, several important developments resulted in a number of the continent’s jurisdictions opening up their markets to international operators.
Portugal
Heading the list is Portugal, a country of 10.46 million people, which originally adopted its new code of gambling regulations back in April 2015, but waited until May 2016 to start processing its official licenses. During the intervening period, gray market operators were requested to quit their operations, before applying through the legitimate channel.
As of today, a total of five operators have received licenses from the regulator, including Betclic, Bet, Estoril Sol Digital, Online Gaming Products and Services, S.A., PokerStars. The results have been spectacular, too, with the newly opened up regulated market currently at number 3 on PokerScout’s ‘Online Poker Traffic Report’ with an average of 1,600 cash game players over a 7-day period.
Romania, Netherlands, Germany
Elsewhere, this year Romania adopted a new iGaming regulatory framework that saw the country issue its first licenses in the spring, and since then its regulator SRIJ has been busy granting licenses, including to some of the world’s biggest companies.
In the meantime, The Netherlands’ Lower House passed an iGaming bill in July, paving the way for international operators to receive licenses in the country, although the law is still to be voted for in the Senate.
However, Germany’s iGambling laws still remain one of the most confusing across the whole of Europe, but there is hope that the confounding picture may be corrected soon after 16 individual states said that they would work together to amend Germany‚Äôs Interstate Treaty on Gambling. Progress will inevitably be slow, though, and provided that the amendments are voted upon at some stage in 2017, the earliest any new framework can be expected is in early 2018.
Shared iPoker Liquidity
Finally, Europe’s online poker market received a positive boost from the news that a number of the continent’s biggest markets were now prepared to start sharing their individual poker playing pools across national borders. As a result, mid-2017 is being touted as a date by which online poker players in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and the UK may finally be able to compete against each other once more across the virtual tables.


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