European Online Poker Thriving Thanks to Liquidity Sharing

January 23rd, 2019 | by Greg Shaun

European liquidity sharing has proved successful, safe and popular with online poker players in France, Spain and Portugal according to a joint regulatory statement.

Poker liquidity sharing

Liquidity sharing has helped online poker players, operators and regulators in France, Spain and Portugal. (Image: The Stars Group)

Written in unison by all three regulators, the January 21 press release looked back on the first 18 months of cross-border poker between the aforementioned nations.

The pact itself was agreed on July 6, 2017, but it wasn’t until January 2018 that poker operators were given liquidity sharing licenses. After a year of activity, the regulators have said the decision to share online poker resources has been positive for all concerned.

“In terms of acceptance by players participating in table games and tournaments with shared liquidity, instead of national ones, there has been the most outstanding opinion among those in France, Portugal and Spain,” reads the translated statement originally published in Spanish.

European Online Poker Surging

Although the press release doesn’t disclose specific figures, recent innovations from PokerStars suggest traffic has increased over the past 12 months. After getting the green light to serve players in France, Spain and Portugal, PokerStars celebrated by hosting the Trio Series.

Running throughout June 2018, the online festival attracted 40,816 unique entrants across 78 separate MTTs. Building on this success, the operator went on to create a 149-MTT series known as Southern Europe Championship of Online Poker (SECOOP).

With major events now attracting thousands of players and boasting guarantees of more than €10 million/$11.5 million, liquidity sharing has increased value for operators and players. But the regulators have also pointed out that the new system has been successful on a logistical level.

“Beyond the figures, it is important to note that, until now, there have been no significant incidents in the implementation of the shared liquidity environment in any of the jurisdictions involved,” the statement continues.

Sharing Sets an Example for All

The safety of players and the ability to prevent outsiders accessing cross-border online poker sites were major concerns for regulators prior to reaching an agreement.

After a year of service, news that no incidents have been recorded will not only speed up Italy’s pending connection with the coalition but, potentially, encourage other countries to join.

The latest statement may also provide some comfort for New Jersey. Despite implementing a liquidity sharing deal with Nevada and Delaware in 2018, the Garden State’s fortunes have yet to blossom.

Although it still has the largest of the three regulated playerpools in the US, recent revenue reports show that sharing players hasn’t helped the state’s struggling online poker economy. To make matters worse, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) recent opinion on the Wire Act could bring a halt to interstate poker in the US.

Even if that doesn’t happen, the latest news suggests US regulators could learn a lesson or two on liquidity sharing from their European counterparts.


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