Portugal and Italy Inching Towards Poker Liquidity Sharing Reality

January 26th, 2018 | by Kaycee James
Pier Paolo Baretta

Under Secretary of State at the Finance Ministry, Pier Paolo Baretta, says Italy will honor the European liquidity sharing deal. (Image: politico.eu/John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Poker liquidity sharing in Europe will move another step forward very soon according to politicians and industry insiders.

Speaking to local media outlet GiocoNews, Italy’s Under Secretary of State at the Finance Ministry, Pier Paolo Baretta, suggested that the regulatory process was moving in a positive direction.

“The Government has begun a verification procedure, which is still underway. With regards to shared liquidity, there is an international agreement that is going to be respected,” said Baretta.

Agreement Will be Honored

Prior to the statement, some believed that Italian ministers had gone cold on the idea of liquidity sharing. As well as a fear that only PokerStars would benefit from the liquidity sharing pact, Italy’s Democratic Party Senator Franco Mirabelli claimed the system would be corrupted by money laundering.

Despite the apparent lack of support from some Italian politicians, Baretta is set on following through with the agreement signed back in July 2017. Over in Portugal, bureaucracy rather than political backlash appears to be causing a delay in bringing the new iGaming regulations to life.

With a number of hurdles to clear, a firm date for Portugal’s entry to the shared system already being using in France and Spain hasn’t been set.

However, in a recent interview with PRO, PokerStars’ Director of Poker Innovation and Operations, Severin Rasset, said he was hopeful of a Q2 launch.

Liquidity Sharing Already Proving Fruitful

While Italy and Portugal limp towards liquidity sharing, PokerStars’ new cross-border platform is already live in France and Spain. To mark the site’s launch, the operator created the France Espania Hold’em (FRESH) series.

Set the run from January 28 to February 11, the festival will giveaway at least $6 million in prize money and lead into a new weekly schedule of tournaments from Franco-Spanish players.

Beyond news of the tournament series, it’s also emerged that PokerStars’ new site is open to international players. According to a French forum post noted by PokerStrategy.com’s Barry Carter, anyone that doesn’t live in region with a segregated playerpool (such as New Jersey) can join the action.

Players that wants to take part in the shared games will have to create a new account and have it verified by PokerStars’ support team. At this stage, the games will have fewer players than the international dot.com platform.

But with insiders suggesting that Italy and Portugal will soon be part of the mix, the new European platform could become an interesting alternative for those in countries such as the UK.

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