Several online gambling regulators in various countries have been discussing sharing online poker liquidity. Regulators located in the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Portugal and Italy have been able to reach an agreement this week in regards to technical standards for sharing poker liquidity. An informal meeting took place earlier this week where representatives from each countries’ regulatory group held a discussion to come up with ways to meet the technical standards of Europe if a liquidity sharing agreement was reached. Of particular concern was data reporting issues.
Yesterday, statements were made by gambling regulators who participated in the meeting which revealed their intention to sign an agreement for online poker liquidity by the middle of next year. However, experts in the online gambling industry feel that such a deadline will be hard to reach.
Of the countries interested in sharing liquidity, France was the first to initiate talks after their government decided to allow the local gambling regulator to begin negotiating such agreements with other European markets. While everyone seems to be on board and agreements have been made for specific terms, there is still a difference in gambling laws for each country so there will be hurdles to cross before the actually sharing of online poker liquidity can take place.
It seems the hardest area might be the taxation systems in place in each jurisdiction. Online poker tournaments and cash games are taxed differently in local markets with varying rates in place. Rakes that are paid will also vary. Such terms would have to be considered before sharing would be given the green light.
Shared liquidity would certainly benefit France, Spain and Italy as each country has seen a decline in online poker gaming over the past few years. Regulations along with high taxes have played a part in the decrease in gaming. For Portugal, the market has yet to begin as the country only regulated online poker gaming about a year ago. An online poker site has yet to launch, so having the opportunity to share liquidity would be beneficial for the country once they begin offering online poker gaming.
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