The French online gambling regulator, ARJEL, has reportedly contacted its Italian counterpart inquiring about the latter’s progress on the realization of the shared online poker liquidity project.
It was in July 2017 when the gambling regulatory bodies of France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal signed an official agreement that would allow them to merge their online poker player pools in a bid to improve the state of the game in the four countries.
Citing unnamed sources, Italian poker news outlet AssoPoker reported today that ARJEL is looking to materialize the shared liquidity project in early 2018, as it was agreed by the participating regulators upon signing their agreement.
It is believed that the shared online poker liquidity network will indeed be launched in the first months of 2018, with France, Spain, and Portugal merging their player pools. According to sources, Italy will be able to join the project later in 2018.
Here it is important to note that Italy is yet to open the bidding process for operators interested to renew their licenses from the local regulator and ones that are interested to enter the Italian gambling market. Country regulators were expected to launch the call for license applications in mid-September, but little information on the matter has been released since then.
France Calls for Timely Launch of the Project
As pointed out earlier, the shared liquidity project was expected to be launched late in 2017 or in the first quarter of 2018. Sources have told AssoPokerthat France is keen on sticking to that timetable and that Charles Coppolani, the President of ARJEL, has been contacting the regulator’s partners in the endeavor asking where they are standing at in relation to its implementation.
According to different sources, France and Spain may become the first two countries to create a shared online poker liquidity network with Portugal joining shortly, and Italy entering the scheme when it copes with the consequences from the regulatory delays.
Another indication that the online poker network will first be launched in early 2018 and that not all countries that signed the July agreement would participate in that initial launch came from the owner of online poker brand PokerStars, The Stars Group (recently rebranded from Amaya).
During a conference call about the company’s financial results for the third quarter of the year, Financial Director Brian Kyle said that they will join the shared liquidity project and that the initial phase of the project might be released in early 2018. It is believed that PokerStars will benefit the most from the project, as it currently is the only operator to hold licenses in all four participating jurisdictions.
French online gambling operator Winamax has also been among those to express interest in joining the scheme. Currently, the company runs operations in its homeland only but has revealed plans to expand its footprint in order to be able to take part in the shared liquidity project.