Betclic, Kindred win French okay for online poker liquidity sharing


betclic-kindred-france-online-poker-liquidityOnline gambling operators Kindred Group and Betclic Everest Group are the latest to receive European Union online poker liquidity sharing approval from French gaming regulators.

On Thursday, French regulator Arjel granted approval to Betclic Enterprises Ltd and Kindred’s SPS Betting France Ltd to share online poker cash games liquidity with the other three EU member states – Italy, Portugal and Spain – that entered into a four-way poker liquidity-sharing pact last summer.

Betclic is a homegrown French operator while Kindred entered the market in 2011 via its acquisition of SPS, which at the time operated the Eurosportbet brands, before rebranding under Kindred’s flagship Unibet identity.

To date, The Stars Group’s flagship PokerStars brand is the only operator to launch cross-border liquidity between its French- and Spanish-licensed sites. French operator Winamax received its liquidity-sharing approval from Arjel in February and the site reportedly plans to launch its French-Spanish pool as early as next month, assuming Spanish regulators approve the company’s local license application.

Anyone who doubted the benefits of cross-border liquidity should have listened to The Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi on this week’s earnings call, during which Ashkenazi said the pooled operations of its French and Spanish sites were generating revenue around 30% higher than the individual dot-country sites had been generating on their own.

Ashkenazi also revealed that PokerStars plans to invite its Portuguese players into the pool sometime in the second quarter of 2018. However, its Italian-licensed site may not join in the fun until Q4, or possibly as late as early 2019, due to some ill-informed Italian legislators expressing concerns that the cross-border activity will facilitate money laundering.

Betclic holds Portuguese online sports betting and casino licenses but PokerStars remains the country’s only licensed poker operator. Kindred has yet to obtain a Portuguese license of any kind.