Friday, 20 October 2017
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pokerPortuguese authorities announce that Portugal will not share liquidity with other EU countries.

Portugal's regulated online poker market will not be open to international liquidity, as the country plans to follow France's example and segregate active players on the soon-to-be-launched poker rooms.

The plan became public on December 1st during a conference organized in Lisbon by Gambling Compliance.

Joining the discussion was Manuela Bandeira, the Head of Online Gambling at Portugal's gaming authority, and it was explained that the country will launch a ring-fenced market similar to the ones already in place in Spain and France. Only at a later stage will the country evaluate the opportunity to share liquidity with others.

"International liquidity is important for poker, as it allows small markets to be more competitive," Bandeira explained. "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."

Talking to PokerNews Portugal, Bandeira confirmed that the market will be a ring-fenced one, even if the regulator plans to change that in the future, allowing Portugal's poker players to join the international players’ pool.

Bandeira explained that the regulator is aware of the consequences that a closed market will have for the industry, and it will work to make sure that the country soon can be part of an enlarged poker market that would include also the players from Spain and France.

According to Bandeira, should the European Union approve the country's proposal to regulate the industry, Portugal's first legal online poker games could take place as early as February 2016.

Back in November, Portugal's Economico newspaper stated that "national and international companies" applied for a license to offer gambling services within the countries.

Although the country's regulator decided not to release the names of the applicants, Economico added that the list of those who requested a license includes the companies that run Portugal's brick-and-mortar casinos as well as Betclic and Betfair.

However, online poker giants as PokerStars, 888poker, and Full Tilt all have been reportedly interested in obtaining a license to offer their services in the country, once the regulate poker market begins to operate.

However, gambling operators may not flock to Portugal as the country is expected to ask them to pay up to 30 percent of their Gross Gaming Revenues to the State.

This percentage many believe will keep a large number of small to medium operators away from Portugal unless the country finds a way to join forces with Spain to launch a proper European transnational poker market.