Any potential worries about the shared-liquidity network in Europe failing are being quelled as two more companies have secured licences to join it. SPS Betting France Limited, which works as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Kindred Group based in Malta, as well as Betclic Enterprises have received shared-liquidity licences from the French online gambling regulator. The Autorité de Régulation des Jeux En Ligne (ARJEL) provided the licences to the two companies last week.
It is SPS Betting that operates the French version of the Unibet poker website. On the other hand, Betclic is in itself a French online gambling group, which operates casino games and sports betting alongside online poker via its subsidiaries.
Thursday saw press releases from ARJEL come to light, with the regulatory body stating that these two operators will now be able to participate in the shared-liquidity network. This will become possible as long as they ensure that operations are compliant with other conditions. These specifics can be found within the agreement that was signed by participating countries in 2017 – France, Spain, Portugal and Italy.
Therefore, more players will soon have the opportunity to join in the prize pools of the network. Of course, a licence is needed from the regulatory bodies of the other countries participating in the project before a merger of player pools can take place. Additionally, operators’ software needs to go through approval by these regulatory bodies.
Kindred Group, Betclic and the Future of the Network
The Kindred Group was originally known as the Unibet Group, and in 2011 it acquired the SPS Betting France company. This deal went through for €5.625 million, as well as a net cash adjustment standing at €1.5 million. Before this, the French company managed both the EuroSportBet and EuroSportPoker brands within France. After the takeover though, the platform was rebranded under the name Unibet.fr.
PokerStars was the first operator to receive regulatory approval from ARJEL – a move that took place in December. Then, as we reported, Winamax followed in suit in February of this year, meaning that Betclic and SPS Betting are the third and fourth companies to be granted such a licence.
The launch of shared poker tables between PokerStars’ French and Spanish players took place in January, officially beginning the integration of shared-liquidity. Its next move is to incorporate the Portuguese group of its players into the network.
It is thought that this won’t take too long to do, as Portugal published its shared-liquidity technical standards last month. It was shortly after this that PokerStars went on to inform its Portuguese gamers that it only needs to integrate a “Seat Me” feature into operations so that they can join the European network. This did happen on March 6. However, the company needs to also secure software certifications before the player pooling can start.
With this being the case, the Portuguese players of the PokerStars group are expected to be able to join the network in the second quarter of 2018. Delays are still holding up any sort of Italian incorporation though, as this country is the last of the four to publish its technical framework – something that it is still to complete.