It was recently reported that Party Poker has set its sights on the shared-liquidity poker network of Europe. The network, which when it fully comes to fruition will see Spain, France, Portugal and Italy provide prize pools for all poker players to participate in, is still in the early stages of coming into full operation. However, Spain and France are already successfully uniting their players to compete for large pools of money.
One country that a lot of speculation has been made about though is Italy. There were doubts that, even though Italy signed the agreement to become a part of the network, it wouldn’t uphold its end of the bargain. However, the outgoing Undersecretary of State for the Italian Finance Ministry said that Italy should apply the terms of this agreement soon. Pier Paolo Baretta, whose current responsibilities incorporate gambling regulation, has himself been a long-time supporter when it comes to the shared-liquidity network of Europe.
He went on to state that if the implementation of the shared-liquidity agreement does not happen, it could be seen as a diplomatic gaffe of some sort. This would also demonstrate a certain lack of respect towards the other three countries, according to Baretta.
It was Spain and France who first united their players via the shared-liquidity network, with PokerStars providing the location for them to do so. This took place in January of 2018, and in more recent weeks, French poker operator Winamax has also obtained the necessary French licence to participate in the network. It is now just waiting for approval and a licence from the Spanish regulatory body (DGOJ).
What Next for Italy?
Mr. Baretta went on to inform local media that necessary technical checks have already taken place in Italy, making it possible for the country to join the shared-liquidity project. This basically means that the country has the ability to technically access the network. However, it now depends upon the Italian regulator to publish its technical standards framework. With this, the implementation of the shared-liquidity network can take place within its own borders. And with such, licensed operators of online poker will be able to merge player pools with the other participating countries.
There was somewhat of a delay in the process of Italy making moves towards joining the network, due to the general election. For the moment, the country is waiting to see whether the ascension of Italy to the network will launch via the current government or the new one. However, it also seems that there is a possibility that Italy will go against its original decision to join. Shared-liquidity has had a lot of political support, although there has also been quite a lot of opposition to the move too. Various influential politicians in the country have stated that they believe the project could create dire conditions for players to money launder, as well as partake in other crimes.