Online poker in Portugal is now one step closer to entering a shared liquidity project with France, Spain, and Italy.
Portugal’s Official Journal published a new technical standards framework on shared online poker liquidity on Feb. 16, as reported by local media. With its publication, there are no more obstacles standing in the way of the project going ahead.
The four countries signed the original agreement last summer. Aiming to bring together these isolated markets, the deal should boost online poker’s profile in each nation.
What does this mean for players?
If the shared liquidity project goes ahead, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Spanish players can compete in a multi-national pool.
Currently, PokerStars is the only operator offering shared player pools between France and Spain. The Franco-Spanish tables, available via the PokerStars Europe network, launched just last month.
The shared liquidity has been a huge success so far, creating the third-largest network in the world for cash game activity.
Are other poker operators involved?
PokerStars won’t be the only operator to get in the shared liquidity mix. Others have expressed interest in participating. These include:
ARJEL, France’s online gambling regulator, recently gave the French-based site Winamax the green light. However, the site—currently licensed only in France—still requires licenses for Portugal, Spain, and Italy.
How big is online poker in Portugal?
Online poker has long been popular in Portugal. PokerStars launched its Portugal-facing site (pokerstars.pt) in late-2016. It boasts almost 40,000 players at the time of writing. That’s huge when compared with Winamax (~8,200 players), and PokerStars Europe (~20,000 players).
PokerStars remains the only licensed operator in Portugal. However, when the shared liquidity project kicks in, it is expected that SRIJ, Portugal’s gambling regulator, will open the local market to other operators.