France has made significant progress in preparing the necessary documentation for the completion of the shared online poker liquidity project, Clément Martin Saint Léon, Head of Consumer Protection at ARJEL, revealed on Tuesday during the 2017 World Regulatory Briefing: Responsible Gambling Innovation.
The event took place at OXO2 in London and Mr. Léon was one of the many professional speakers who participated in it, providing important information and discussing responsible gambling policymaking as well as technology and innovation within the international gambling space.
The French online gambling official pointed out that ARJEL is very close to completing and releasing its own dossier with technical rules under which France will be able to participate in the shared liquidity project. Mr. Léon further explained that while he was not informed about the progress made by the other participants in the project, he was optimistic that the new online poker network would be launched before the end of the year or sometime in the first half of 2018.
The Shared Online Poker Liquidity Project
ARJEL, the French online gambling regulator, was the one to trigger talks on the topic last summer, after the French government approved a provision that allowed the regulatory body to devise a plan that would improve the state of French online cash game poker.
ARJEL initiated talks with its counterparts from Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the UK for the creation of an online poker network that would combine the player pools of all five countries. The project was embraced by the participants in the discussions. However, the UK quit discussions due to its departure from the EU, which would significantly hamper its participation in the shared liquidity scheme.
After a year of negotiations, the regulators of the four other countries signed a formal shared online poker liquidity agreement on July 6, 2017 in Rome. Although the agreement was an important step towards the project’s realization, the four regulatory bodies still have a lot to do before the poker network’s launch.
As mentioned above, they will all have to set the technical rules under which the network will be run in each of the four countries. Spain and Portugal have already released information on the matter and it has been understood that Italy has, too, been working on its dossier.
Here it is also important to note that Italian gambling regulators are also busy with preparing the cal for bids for new online gambling licenses. The necessary information about the eligibility of operators in the bidding process is expected to be released by the end of the month.
Several online poker operators have already expressed interest in applying for an Italian online gambling license so as to be able to participate in the shared liquidity project.
It was in early 2017 when French online poker operator Winamax announced that it was looking for Spanish-, Portuguese-, and Italian-speaking staff. Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings said in its recent H1 financial report that its 888poker brand would be seeking entry into the Italian online poker space and participation in the shared liquidity scheme.