The French Senate has approved an amendment to its gaming rules by which shared liquidity will now be allowed with other countries within the European Union and the European Economic Area.
A recent social media announcement by the French gaming regulator Autorité de Régulation des Jeux en Ligne (ARJEL) confirmed that shared liquidity will now be official. The regulator has been pushing for the country to adopt shared liquidity for a number of years in order to give a boost to the country’s struggling online gaming market.
ARJEL welcomes the adoption by the Senate of the sharing of poker liquidities with European countries presenting a high level of regulation
— arjel (@arjel) May 3, 2016
France allows licensed gaming operators to offer online gaming to international players but have categorized them as separate services which French nationals cannot access. These restrictions along with the high tax levied by the state have led to the decline of France’s online gaming market. The tough regulations have been the reason why most online poker players in France prefer to take the risk and frequent unlicensed sites.
ARJEL in conjunction with online poker groups has therefore been pushing for shared liquidity for a number of months to provide a new boost to the online poker market in France. The subject of shared liquidity was initially brought up almost a year ago by the ARJEL President Charles Coppolani in his discussions with French Budget Minister Christian Eckert.
The country’s net neutrality Digital Bill was supposed to have included clauses allowing shared liquidity but it was not included when the bill was passed this January. ARJEL subsequently announced that a fresh amendment was going to be presented for approval in April.
Spain, Italy and Portugal are the probable countries with whom France can share liquidity. The online gaming markets in Spain and Italy are also struggling but both countries have already put in place legislation allowing shared international liquidity which would make the process of setting up liquidity agreements easier.
The online poker operator most likely to benefit from this shared liquidity will be PokerStars. The online poker giant is the number one poker site in Italy and Spain and the second largest site in France. France’s number one online poker provider is Winamax, who will not benefit from the shared liquidity arrangement as the company does not have online poker operations outside of France.
partypoker and iPoker are the other brands likely to benefit from the amendment as they are present in all the three countries. partypoker has a strong presence in France as its third largest site and is ranked fourth in Spain and sixth in Italy.