Regulação Inspeção de JogosAfter reviewing its gaming regulations, Portugal has announced a major policy change that allows international shared liquidity will delight online poker players in Portugal but a second law preventing shared networks will disappoint online poker providers in the country.

The Regulação Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ), which is Spain’s gaming regulator has said that it will now permit international liquidity sharing for the online poker industry. This means that any player registered on a Portuguese licensed poker website can play with players registered on platforms in another country.

While this is great news for Portuguese poker players, the disappointing news is that the current system does not allow partners having B2B licenses to pool their liquidity. As a result, companies like Amaya which operates PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker can take advantage and share player pools but others like 888poker, iPoker and Microgaming Poker Network will not be able to share liquidity among themselves.

According to local media reports, the SRIJ is conscious of this limitation but any revision of the laws would need to wait until the mandatory review of regulations is completed. This is expected to take place in two years’ time.

In a statement, Manuela Bandeira, the head of the SRIJ said

International liquidity is important for poker, as it allows small markets to be more competitive. It’s not a simple issue and we need to work more closely with other regulatory bodies from different countries in order to understand how to make it work.

Portugal opened up its gambling market last year, allowing foreign operators to enter the country which until then had been a monopoly. The cash-starved government aims to raise close to €25 million ($28 million) per year from tax revenue generated by the online gaming industry. SRIJ will start issuing licenses from June after the completion of the licensing application process, which is currently underway.

Tax rates for online poker operators have been set at 15 to 30 percent of gross gaming revenues. The high tax rates has not gone down well with many online poker providers such as William Hill and Ladbrokes who have decided to no longer operate in the Portuguese market.

Europe’s online poker industry has been in a state of decline witnessing a drop in poker traffic and player spends. Markets like France, Italy and Spain have suffered as illegal poker sites have been eating into the market share of licensed platforms as online poker players find these underground websites more profitable. The new laws will help Portugal to expand its online poker market and provide players with better paying tournaments.

Categories: Poker News

Posted on: 21st April 2016 by: Gary Beachley