French and Spanish iPoker Markets Post Gains in Q4

French and Spanish iPoker Markets Post Gains in Q4In January, France and Spain became the first European poker markets to enact their liquidity sharing agreement after PokerStars then Winamax began pooling players between their locally licensed sites based in these countries.
While the development bodes well for the industry’s growth on the continent going forward, in the meantime France and Spain’s internet poker markets also reported solid results in the fourth quarter of 2017.
According to French gaming regulator ARJEL, the country’s online poker industry posted a 7% revenue increase to €66 million in Q4 compared to the same quarter in 2016, also representing a 7% year-over-year gain to €245 million for the whole of 2017. Furthermore, cash game spending was up by 1% to €3.6 billion in 2017, while the poker tournament segment saw its spending soar by 9% to €2.04 billion for the whole of last year.
Taken in combination with other online gambling verticals, including sports betting, casino games and horseracing, France’s online gambling market experienced a 38% revenue jump to €173.3 million in Q4, as well as by a huge 23.5% compared to the previous quarter.
Meanwhile, Spanish gaming regulator DGOJ reported a 2.2% increase in its tournament fees during the fourth quarter, although cash game stakes went in the opposite direction and contracted by 2.6%. Nevertheless, the country’s overall online poker market was in positive territory in Q4, with total spend up by 15.5% to €411.6 million compared to the same quarter in 2016, and revenue higher by 5% at €15.5 million.
Shared Liquidity
At present, PokerStars and Winamax are pioneering the way in offering players in both France and Spain an opportunity to play across a common network. Interestingly, PokerStars Europe is also allowing players from other countries to play on the site because of a loophole in Spanish internet poker regulations which permit players in other countries to legally register accounts at .es gambling sites.
PartyPoker is also expected to start sharing poker liquidity in the near future following the completion of its £4 billion takeover of Ladbrokes Coral. As a brand representative subsequently explained on the Two Plus Two poker forum:
“We already are in both the Spanish and French markets. If you are asking regarding joint liquidity – yes it will happen in the coming months likely also including Italy and Portugal.”

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