Pier Paolo Baretta calls for Italy to cling to the terms of the shared online poker liquidity agreement 

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Making himself loud and clear in an interview with GiocoNews, Pier Paolo Baretta, the outgoing Undersecretary of State at the Italian Finance Ministry affirmed earlier this week, that Italy should apply the terms of the shared online poker liquidity agreement it signed with France, Spain, and Portugal in Rome, last summer.

Clinging to his,  responsibility of gambling regulation, Mr. Baretta has been a long-time supporter of the shared liquidity project as a means for the revival of Europe’s segregated poker markets.The politician further emphasised that  not implementing the shared liquidity project could be considered a diplomatic gaffe of some sort  and would demonstrate lack of respect towards the partners of Italy’s Agenzia delle dogane e dei Monopoli (the local gambling regulator) from France (ARJEL), Spain (DGOJ), and Portugal (SRIJ).

The first shared poker tables went live in Spain and France in mid-January. PokerStars was the first operator to receive the essential authorization to participate in the shared liquidity project. French online poker operator Winamax also acquired a license from ARJEL to roll out shared poker tables. It now needs the go-ahead nod from Spanish regulators in order to be able to operate in the country.

Mr. Baretta told local media that the necessary technical checks that would make it possible for Italy to join the project were completed successfully. In other words, the country’s gambling regulator now only needs to publish the technical standards framework for the implementation of shared liquidity within its borders so that licensed operators are able to merge their player pools in the participating countries.

The recently held general election delayed the start of the shared liquidity scheme in Italy and, as Mr. Baretta pointed out, it is yet to be seen whether the project will be launched by the outgoing government or by the new one. And it seems that there is still a chance of Italy deciding against its participation, although it had been active in the shared liquidity negotiations. While shared liquidity has gained quite some political support in the country, it has also been opposed by a number of influential politicians who have expressed concerns that the project could create conditions for money laundering and other related crimes.