The shared-liquidity poker network that links up poker rooms between France, Spain, Portugal and (in the near future) Italy seems to be in a state of constant growth. It was only recently that we reported on the success of the Southern European Championship of Online Poker (SECOOP) tournament. Yet, it seems as though the expansion of this network isn’t over. Not by a long shot.
The iPoker platform was recently given the go ahead to launch on the shared-liquidity network, bringing another selection of shared Spanish-French games. The integration of the poker room is already underway, as iPoker finally garnered its licences from both jurisdictions. In actual fact, it received its licence from the French regulator in March of this year. However, it was only recently that the Spanish one came through.
There are already multiple rooms operating on the iPoker network for the French and Spanish markets, but at current, these are separate. For example, in France, the Kindred Group provides the Unibet.FR and BetClic options. These provide online poker, sports betting and casino gaming through subsidiaries. Meanwhile, in Spain, it is Bet365, Casino Barcelona and others that share their liquidity on iPoker’s software.
Of these, it was BetClic that first announced via its website, that a new platform will merge together the French and Spanish networks. Therefore, players from both countries will be able to access a united, shared prize pool. Players do need to go through a verification process in order to be able to access it, though.
The Growth of the Shared-Liquidity Market
With the introduction of iPoker to the shared-liquidity network in Europe, this makes it the fourth poker room to enter. It was Pokerstars that got in on the act initially, launching shared prize pools in January of 2018. This was followed by the introduction of Partypoker in June and then Winamax in the following month.
Yet, Pokerstars remains as the sole operator to provide access to the shared-liquidity pool in Portugal. The country gained access to this in May. The other platforms have only managed to provide mergers between Spain and France.
iPoker’s involvement is expected to be a great thing for the brand, with its smaller segregated markets potentially benefitting from large growth. You don’t have to look far past the SECOOP results of this year to realise that Pokerstars is already demonstrating its own successes as a part of the network.
Italy is still lingering on the outside of the network, despite having signed the agreement to merge its player pools into it. Unfortunately, a newly-elected government in the country could hinder its advancement in this area, as certain politicians hold strong anti-gambling opinions. The pact between the four countries was signed in July of 2017, but Italy remains as the only country to have not yet integrated into it.
While this could change in the future, it’s not looking like such a strong possibility for the moment. There’s little to suggest that the Italian government would take any speedy steps towards integrating its poker prize pools into the network any time soon.