France, Spain to Debut Pooled Poker Play Within Weeks

Following the announcement months ago that four firewalled Western European nations had reached an agreement allowing shared online poker liquidity and the pooling of players, two of the four nations, France and Spain, are set to launch pooled play at some point in the coming weeks.

Both nations’ governmental gaming regulators have issued announcements in recent days indicating the onset of shared action between French and Spanish players, though a hard debut date has yet to be announced.

France Eiffiel TowerAt France’s official Autorité de Régulation des Jeux En Ligne (ARJEL) site, a brief update dated Tuesday, January 2nd offered a link to the original deal signed between France, Spain, Italy and Portugal last July, and added to that the following: “Six months later, Spain and France are able to announce that Franco-Spanish poker tables will be offered to players from both countries in the next few weeks.”

ARJEL’S brief update follows a more detailed notice offered to visitors at Spain’s official gambling regulator, Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ). The DGOJ’s version, published on December 29th, indicates that the remaining delay is due to the need to publish the changes in the country’s national registry, as mandated under Spanish law.

DGOJ’s update, which is more than a mite wordy, reads as follows:

Today, December 29, the General Director of Gaming Regulation has signed the Resolution agreeing to authorize a liquidity modality different from that of the participation of players with Spanish user registration for the online poker game and for which modified certain resolutions on the gaming activities provided for in Law 13/2011, of May 27, regulating the game.

The aforementioned resolution, which will come into force once it is published in the Official State Gazette throughout the month of January, will allow operators with the corresponding state gambling licenses to offer the online poker game to users in Spain can offer tables and tournaments in which there are users of the signatory jurisdictions of the Agreement on liquidity shared in the online poker game signed in Rome on July 6 , in the terms established by such jurisdictions.

The Resolution establishes the conditions to which said operators must subject the possibility of marketing the game of poker under shared liquidity and also, by means of the corresponding modifications of the current framework, the technical, control and reporting conditions necessary for it to be offered with all the guarantees for public order and users.

The possibility of liquidity with players from other jurisdictions through environments that are safe for Spanish users, in games such as poker for which the mass or depth of the shares is an important element, increases the variety and innovation and therefore the consumer choices, reinforcing the regulated online gaming market and with it its social sustainability.

The effective implementation of this framework in Spain, after the one in France, opens the possibility for operators to offer tables with players from both countries starting in the coming weeks.

An official launch announcement may be issued by the end of this month. Neither Italy nor Portugal have indicated any immediate plans to be part of the shared-liquidity launch, despite being part of July’s four-nation agreement.  Several prominent online-poker operators have received licensing approval to operate in both jurisdictions.

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