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Europe – EU countries follow UK’s model of shared online poker play

By - 26 July 2017

Several EU countries have been seeing a steady drop in online poker revenue over the last five years. Meanwhile, the UK has a thriving online poker population and a handful of well-established online casinos.

France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal all have their own online poker networks, but users can only compete against players within their own country. This means that users often have trouble finding people to play with, and as this problem persists, revenue goes down.

To combat this problem, French online poker regulator ARJEL recently announced that the four countries will be signing a “player liquidity sharing agreement.” This new agreement will open the borders between the four countries with regards to online poker, allowing users to join a pool of players that includes all four countries.

This model is not a new concept. The UK is part of an international player pool that includes many other countries, and it’s no coincidence that online gambling revenue in the UK has increased dramatically over the last several years. Users in the UK never have a problem joining a game and finding others to play with.

While the EU and UK continue to work on improving their online gambling markets, the US is still trying to decide on how to deal with the issue of legality. Currently, US states have the right to legalize online gambling, and only three states (plus one territory) have chosen to do so — Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Rod Sterling, PR Associate at Casinoroom.com, said: “It is largely unclear how the current administration will deal with the issue of online gambling, although Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that he wants to revisit the Wire Act of 1961, a law that puts any betting transactions that use a “wire” (i.e.; the internet) under the jurisdiction of the federal government. In 2011, The Department of Justice concluded that this act should only pertain to “sporting events or contests,” and therefore, online casino games such as poker were relegated to state’s rights.”

“It is hard to say what would happen if the US did revisit the Wire Act of 1961,” he added. “The current administration will probably not be looking at it anytime soon, seeing as they have slightly bigger fish to fry at the moment. It is, however, a bit unsettling that while so many other countries are making strides to improve their online gambling markets, the US is still stagnating in a strange, partially legal environment. Perhaps US lawmakers could take a look across the pond and see how other countries are benefiting from their online gambling industries before making any rash decisions.”

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