Global Glance: PartyPoker EU Launches, Swedish Laws Approved

Global Glance: PartyPoker EU Launches, Swedish Laws Approved
Europe remains center of global gaming news

The weekly Global Glance looks at the online poker scene around the world. What happens with online poker and gambling beyond America’s borders can and often does impact the state of online poker in the United States.

It was a big week for PartyPoker, as its dot-EU collaboration launched to join its French and Spanish players on one shared liquidity network. Sweden’s parliament officially and unanimously passed its new online gaming bill, which will allow operators to apply for licenses in the Swedish market. Norway seeks approval from the European Commission to implement its new laws, while the Swiss government is accused of censorship for advocating its new online gambling ban.

Catch up on it all here:

PartyPoker EU Launches

The process to join sites from two ring-fenced countries and put them on a new network is daunting, that point being made clearer by the months it took PartyPoker to join its French and Spanish sites.

Per the 2017 online poker shared liquidity agreement signed by online poker regulators in France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, operators with licensed sites in the various countries could put them together on a shared network to allow for larger player pools. That makes it sound easier than it has been, however. While PokerStars was able to get its shared French-Spanish sites together by the end of January 2018, PartyPoker didn’t have the same experience to put into the process. It took longer, but PartyPoker made it happen last week, as promised.

June 4 was the first official day that French and Spanish players were together on the EU network, and all seemed to go smoothly for players.

New Swedish Online Gaming Laws Approved

The Swedish government has been working on the Re-Regulated Gambling Market bill for quite some time, even going so far as giving gambling regulator Lotteriinspektionen the authority to prepare for online gaming licensing applications. It was at the beginning of April that the bill was submitted to the European Commission for approval and when Lotteriinspektionen set the date for opening the licensing window for August 1, 2018.

But there was one big step remaining before moving forward, and that was the authorization of Sweden’s Parliament. Last week, it happened. Parliament gave unanimous approval to the Gambling Bill on June 7.

The law will become enforceable on January 1, 2019, though the licensing application process will still begin this summer. It will take months for investigations and the awarding of licenses, which will run directly into the first day of the new year.

While the European Commission is still considering the bill, all seems to be in agreement with EU fair trade regulations thus far. Final approval is expected within the next two months.

Norway Requests EU Gaming Approval

Just a few weeks ago, members of four Norwegian political parties demanded that the government take action on gambling. They demanded that the government require internet service providers to block foreign online gaming operators, banks to report transactions that violate the gambling law, and lottery officials to impose fines for violations.

Norway’s Ministry of Culture addressed those concerns last week by moving ahead with the new regulations, as they were officially submitted to the European Commission. There will now be a three-month waiting period as the EC reviews the law to ensure compliance with EU regulations, though the tenets of the regulations described above will likely results in the EC rejecting the bill.

However, if the EC does not reject all of the new rules, the Norwegian legislature is prepared to adopt the regulations and immediately put them into motion.

Critics Say Swiss Gambling Laws Misguided

The news about Switzerland’s Money Gaming Act has spread, and critics took their concerns to the writers at Bloomberg last week to bring more attention to the laws.

The bill is set to pass soon in Switzerland and will implement a ban on non-Swiss online gambling operations. Internet service providers will be required to block Swiss residents from accessing the sites. And as reported last week, the Swiss people seem to be supporting the move.

Critics, however, are concerned about the censorship aspect of the new laws. Groups like the Internet Society and ICANN are speaking out against the blocking of sites, citing the possibility that other industries could then be affected if the government chooses to start banning other sites that may influence the people of Switzerland in a negative way.

There will be a way for foreign operators to continue working with Swiss customers, but licenses to do so will not be available for up to six years. Meanwhile, the government is accused of stoking fears of money laundering and other internet dangers in garnering public support for the new regulations.

 

About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has been followed the US market closely for the last 7 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

Disclaimer: The information on this site is my interpretation of the laws as made available online. It is in no way meant to serve as legal advice or instruction. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.

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