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PokerStars France Gets First European Liquidity License
PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker room, has received the first ever license to share liquidity between several of its individual European sites, the company said in a statement.
Owned and operated by the Toronto based ‘The Stars Group’ (formerly Amaya gaming), the Canadian company is now poised to take the first step towards what players everywhere are hoping will be an eventual return to the truly global player poll enjoyed in online poker’s early days.
Onerous ARJEL Regulation Had Been Problematic
European liquidity had been on PokerStars’ wish list for a long time. However, ARJEL — the organization responsible for regulating onion gaming in France — was seen as a major obstacle.
Until recently, France had some of the most restrictive online gambling rules in Europe. Tax rates were so high as to drive many players towards illegal, unregulated sites, costing the government tax dollars and leaving consumers vulnerable.
In addition, French poker players were ‘ring fenced’ from the rest of the world — meaning they could only play with other players physically located within France. This also drove down tax revenues as players mostly chose to look elsewhere for games.
Shared European Poker Room To Begin In 2018
Having finally come around to the reality that such restrictive regulations were a problem, a major retooling was recently undertaken.
A significant part of that process was not only a lowering of tax rates, but also a second look at the negative impact of ring fencing on government coffers. The poker community has been pushing for shared European liquidity for some time, and regulators were finally convinced.
The new pan-European project will allow PokerStars players in France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy to begins haring the virtual felt. The project will begin in the first three in early 2018; Italy is expected to be added sometime later in the year.