PokerStars to admit Portuguese Players to Europe Network

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Local media on Friday, the 16th February, reported the publication of Portugal’s technical standards framework on shared online poker liquidity (Regulamento n.o 115/2018) in the country’s Official Journal,  which confirms that Portugal will not encounter any more hindrances in participation in the shared liquidity project.

Chronologically, along with other countries like France, Spain, and Italy, Portugal was the fourth to sign the shared liquidity agreement in Rome in the summer of 2017. In a nutshell, the venture is anticipated to invigorate the online poker in Europe’s segregated markets.

France and Spain are the first two participating countries to roll out shared online poker tables. And PokerStars is the foremost and the only online poker operator to offer Franco–Spanish tables via its PokerStars Europe network.The online poker brand launched the network in mid-January and it can be said that participation in the shared liquidity project got off the ground.

According to the data from PokerScout, PokerStars Europe is currently the world’s third-largest network in terms of cash game activity. It is also among the largest in terms of overall traffic. At the time of writing, there are a total of 17,930 players online on the poker network. Of those, 2,177 are playing cash games. The 24-hour cash game peak stood at 5,220 online cash game players.

Aside from PokerStars, other online poker operators have too expressed interest in participating in the shared liquidity scheme, with Winamax, PartyPoker, and 888 being among those. Winamax recently received the go-ahead to join the project from France’s online gambling regulator, ARJEL. However, the operator needs licenses from the other participating countries in order to be able to do that, as it is currently licensed in France only.

What the Publication of Regulamento n.o 115/2018 Means for Portugal’s Online Poker

The publication of the shared liquidity technical standard in Portugal’s Official Journal means that PokerStars could and probably would open its PokerStars Europe network to Portuguese players any time now.

The inclusion of the country will boost the operator’s new network significantly in terms of liquidity, as there has been quite some activity on PokerStars’.pt website since its launch in late 2016. According to PokerScout, there are more than 39,500 players online on at the time of writing, or more than twice as much as the current traffic of PokerStars Europe.

The publication of the technical standards framework could also encourage SRIJ, Portugal’s gambling regulator, to finally expand the country’s online poker market. At present, PokerStars is the only licensed operator to operate in Portugal. As mentioned above, the poker room received its license from SRIJ in 2016 and went live with a .pt website in December of that year. No poker licenses have been issued since then and industry experts have pointed out that SRIJ might be waiting for the start of the shared liquidity project before opening the local poker market to more operators.