Charles Coppolani, the president of the French online gambling regulator ARJEL went on record recently to announce that Portugal is now ready to join the shared online poker liquidity project. PokerStars became the first online poker operator to take advantage of the shared liquidity program earlier this month by launching Spanish-Franco shared poker tables.
The shared liquidity agreement was signed in May 2017 by gaming regulators from France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The agreement will allow licensed operators in four different countries to combine their player pools and improve the profitability in their online poker markets.
France and Spain have taken the necessary steps to ensure that shared liquidity could start in 2018 but Portugal and Italy have fallen behind due to a number of reasons.
Portugal appears to be now ready to join Spain and Italy. The reason why Portugal is such an important part of the shared online poker liquidity project is that the online poker environment in the country is still quite young. The first online poker licenses in Portugal were not given out until 2016 and it was not until December of 2016 that the first local licensed site was up and ready for play.
PokerStars, the biggest online poker website in the world was the first online gaming operator to be given a license in Portugal. The online poker giant is the only iGaming operator that is licensed to operate in all four countries. Online gaming experts expect a number of iGaming operators to enter Portugal in the coming months now that Portugal is prepared to open its doors to the shared liquidity project.
While Charles Coppolani was able to confirm that Portugal will soon join France and Spain in the online shared poker liquidity agreement, Coppolani did not have any updates on France and stated that he remained optimistic that the Italians will still stay committed to the project even with the delays.
Coppolani stated that the main reason for the delay in Italy joining France and Spain was due to the upcoming general election in the country. Analysts expect the upcoming election to cause political uncertainty which will cause delays in the overall timeline of the shared liquidity project.
However, the Undersecretary of State at the Italian Finance Ministry, Pier Paolo Baretta has reaffirmed that his country is still committed to the shared online poker liquidity project. Barreta stated that the verification process of online gaming operators is currently being finalized.