The politicians of the General Direction of Order of the Game in Spain have fulfilled their commitments. Unbelievable!

Earlier this month of July, online gaming authorities from Portugal, France, Italy and Spain gathered in Rome and signed a co-operation agreement and exchange of information, which will allow shared liquidity between poker operators with license online in those countries.

Operators who want to have access to the unified market will have to request it in each of the countries and will have to obtain an authorization. They also will have to comply with a series of requirements or procedures that the regulators of that country will establish.

Once they comply with their requirements, they’ll can enable in their lobbies tabs of “international tournaments” or “international cash tables”. The international tables will coexist with the national ones, although they are supposed to be emptied, before the possibility of finding more traffic or better prizes in those who are played by players of several countries.

There will not be necessary to create new accounts in unified rooms. The accounts of .es will be valid. The implementation of the international tables will depend on the agility of each country to carry out the necessary procedures. France and Spain, a priori, should be the fastest, since there aren’t legal or fiscal obstacles that could delay their opening processes. In Portugal, where players don’t pay taxes of their winnings, there is likely to be some tax modification. And in Italy, it will be necessary to review the software of the rooms that want to open the shared liquidity, so it’s supposed to be the last to join the unified market.

If everything goes well, Spain and France should open the international tables by the end of this year 2017. And Portugal and Italy would join them in early 2018. The Rome Agreement contemplates the possibility of joining new countries to the unified market. To do this, they must accept the terms of the agreement and have the consent of the four “founder” members.

Right now, PokerStars is the only room that operates in all four regulated markets. However, there are rooms that could also join them as Winamax, iPoker, PartyPoker and 888poker. To do this, they will have to obtain licenses in countries where they haven’t had them. Of course, Winamax seems the most attractive option of the four, as it is the leading online poker room in France and could appear in the unified market as a serious candidate to break the tyrannical hegemony of the increasingly discredited PokerStars.

The shared liquidity will bring many advantages for the multi-player tournaments. Regular daily tournaments will multiply their prize pools. There will probably be special tournaments every Sunday, with a guaranteed of €500,000. In addition, tournaments like the Monthly Special could become the Sunday Millions. And the main events and high rollers from the big annual series could also reach guaranteed of millions of Euros.

In addition, the fields will also grow considerably. Any player with active account in .es, .pt, .it and .fr will be able to play in the international tables, regardless of their residence. This will encourage many emigrants to play tournaments.

If everything goes as it seems, the unification of markets will greatly improve the offer of online poker that we have in Spain. Perhaps this way we will be able to overcome the decline that our game lives since the implementation of the Law of the Game, in mid-2012.

When shared liquidity is implemented, our next objective will be to rationalize the taxation applicable to players. We will fight to eliminate or, at least, alleviate the fiscal burden of the winning players.

They are times of hope for Spanish online poker. Hope our expectations are met.

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