Global Glance: PartyPoker In, Spain and France Up

Global Glance: PartyPoker In, Spain and France Up
Much poker news from Europe last week

The weekly Global Glance takes a look 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.

After Winamax received approval last week to work toward entering the European online poker liquidity space, PartyPoker is getting in on the action with an announcement of its own. France and Spain reported their end-of-2017 numbers, which showed surprising upswings for poker in both markets. And the Dutch are in the news for asking for assistance to uphold their gambling laws, the ones that have yet to be implemented.

PartyPoker Wants Euro Poker Liquidity

Once the online poker liquidity agreement transformed into actual shared player pools, others began to take it more seriously. After France and Spain joined their players on PokerStars, Italy and Portugal revved up their processes and operators like Winamax announced intentions to participate.

The most recent online poker operator to step up to the plate is PartyPoker, which confirmed its intention in a forum post. When a forum member asked if PartyPoker planned to enter the French/Spanish market soon, a PartyPoker representative responded, “We already are in both the Spanish and French markets. If you are asking regarding joint liquidity – yes it will happen in the coming months likely also including Italy and Portugal.”

If PokerStars already did it, why would PartyPoker wait? Its parent company, GVC Holdings, is in the final stages of a massive deal to merge with Ladbrokes Coral. Meanwhile, PartyPoker does have a presence in Spain, France, and Italy, making it the second largest site among the four partnering countries for liquidity. While it currently has no site available in Portugal, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t applied for an online poker license. That would not be unlikely, as PokerStars has been the only online poker site operating in Portugal since its regulated market launch, and competition would be a positive move.

Spain Online Gaming Grows

The numbers are in for the fourth quarter of 2017, and Spain’s online gambling market showed overall growth in all verticals. According to Direccion General de Ordenacion del Juego (DGOJ), the country’s gambling regulator, revenue increased by 38% in the last quarter of the year.

Of that revenue of €173.3 million, sports betting was the primary source with €103.6 million of it, and that number was up 48.5%. Online casino games brought in €49.4 million, which represented a 37.4% increase, and bingo numbers rose 30% to €3.25 million.

And then there was poker, which hasn’t been on the rise much in the past few years. But the fourth quarter saw a 5% increase to €15.5 million. Tournament fees were a big part of that jump, as cash games slipped year-on-year. Online poker liquidity could make a dent for the first quarter of 2018 and going forward if the market continues to grow as planned.

 France Online Gaming Grows, Too

The online gambling regulator in France, Autorite de regulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL) came up with its full-year 2017 numbers already. The totals showed €962 million for the year, which was up 18% year-on-year.

As per usual, sports betting was the largest contributor to those numbers, wagers up to €2.51 billion for the year. In the fourth quarter alone, online betting revenue increased 82%. Even horse racing was up for the first time in four years.

While poker hasn’t had a good track record of late, even online poker cash game stakes increased 1% year-on-year to €3.6 billion. Tournament entry fees showed an increase of 9%.

Dutch Regulator Asks for Assistance

The Netherlands is serious about keeping unlicensed online poker and gambling operators from targeting its citizens. Its new regulatory framework is strict, though the new Dutch Betting and Gaming Act has yet to be passed by all government bodies and put into effect. Despite the fact that the effective date may not be until sometime in 2019, the regulator has taken matters into its own hands to get ahead of the game.

Kansspelautoriteit, otherwise known as the Netherlands Gaming Authority, notified regulators in neighboring countries that some of the operators licensed by them could face fines and other penalties from the Netherlands. The letter explained the current regulations and what it considers to be illegal, unlicensed, and unregulated sites.

Essentially, the Dutch asked other regulators to crack down on their licensees who are not respecting the regulations of the Netherlands. They want them to warn their licensed operators of the penalties they could incur if they do not become compliant with Kansspelautoriteit.


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 and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 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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