Portuguese Poker Players To Boycott Ring-Fenced Market

Portugal’s online poker players are dismayed by the country’s decision to segregate its market from that of other countries, and following a meeting by advocacy group ANAon have now agreed to boycott any sites receiving an operating license by the Portuguese gaming regulator, Regulação Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ).
Unlike other gambling games, online poker relies on a high level of liquidity in order to ensure a competitive, attractive environment for its players. One just has to look at the ring-fenced markets of France, Italy and Spain, not to mention Delaware and Nevada in the US, to see the limitations segregation puts on developing a viable iPoker industry.
The frustration of Portuguese players has been further exasperated by the fact that they were initially lead to believe that the SRIJ would be following the more progressive open liquidity model adopted by such countries as Denmark and the UK. At the ANAon meeting on January 5th, the advocacy group then took the dramatic decision to make a public statement denouncing segregation, and state their intention to keep on playing at unregulated online poker sites. As an ANAon statement explained:
“This position is intended to alert the Portuguese regulator [SRIJ] that ANAon’s poker players will not use Portuguese-regulated rooms open only to domestic liquidity or those rooms [which] adopt the French model that accepts foreigners provided they register at the Portuguese platform.”
In the meantime, SRIJ has tried to allay the concerns of the country’s online poker players by reassuring them it would pursue a more open market policy once a number of technical regulatory issues are resolved with the EU. Nevertheless, such matters often take years to iron out, and Portuguese poker players have made clear their unwillingness to play on ring-fenced regulated sites while the discussions drag on.
Under the new regulations introduced last year, it is illegal for Portuguese players to gamble on unregulated sites. No one has been penalized thus far, however, and players are still able to access sites such as PokerStars and 888poker from Portugal.

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