Global Glance: PokerStars to India, 888 May Leave Germany
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.
There was quite a bit of online poker news from around the world this week, starting with the French approval of Kindred and Betclic brands to pursue online poker liquidity. Italy is organizing its dozens of new online gaming applications, while PokerStars prepares to launch in India. On the other side of that coin, 888 is considering leaving the German market after a recent court ruling. And the Netherlands thinks about gaming laws from Europe to the Dutch Caribbean.
France Approves Kindred and Betclic
When France said it was ready for online poker liquidity, it wasn’t kidding. PokerStars was the first poker operator to gain approval to launch its French and Spanish sites together, and Winamax received its approval last month. Now Betclic and SPS Betting join that growing club.
French online gaming regulator ARJEL announced that it awarded shared liquidity licenses to Betclic Enterprises and SPS Betting France, the latter of which is a subsidiary of Kindred Group that operates Unibet. This means both companies are prepared to meet all of the regulatory requirements to launch their sites as soon as they receive the same licensing approval from Spain and/or Italy.
Italy Inundated with Applications
When Italian gambling regulator AAMS opened its online gambling licensing process earlier this year, it noted that up to 120 new and renewal licenses were available. The application window is now closed, and AAMS reported that they received approximately 80 submissions.
According to news reports, applications will be reviewed and put up for approval beginning in April, with results expected throughout the following months. It is unknown how many gaming operators will be offering online poker and request qualification to join the shared poker liquidity network in Europe.
Gioco online: bando di gara con 80 concessionari. Quadro politico complesso per liquidità internazionale https://t.co/GQhk62hpqn
— Assopoker (@assopoker) March 20, 2018
German Players Could Lose 888poker
The most recent revenue reports from 888 Holdings came with a warning that the company may exit the German market. Its sometimes-ambiguous online gaming laws can also be expensive.
The Federal Administrative Court of Germany recently ruled against 888 for services rendered prior to 2015, and the resulting VAT bill could be approximately $45 million. That amount not only put a dent in the 2017 profits for an otherwise impressive year, especially in the Spanish and Italian markets. The ruling also suggested that 888 companies are legally banned from operating in Germany.
Germans have been suffering from the complicated German fight with online poker and gaming operators for years, and players there may also soon lose their ability to play on 888poker and its sister companies.
888 Holdings considers Germany pullout https://t.co/t6UEu5biEh
— InterGame Ltd (@InterGameLtd) March 20, 2018
PokerStars Readies Launch in India
India’s laws have also been tough to navigate, but PokerStars has figured it out to a degree that it is comfortable launching online poker there. The Stars Group has partnered with Sugal & Damani to prepare for the India-based site.
Having long wanted to enter the Indian market, which is estimated to be highly lucrative, PokerStars may be set to launch its poker product across the country in the next month.
Stars Group prepares for Indian facing Pokerstars launch https://t.co/ZtnOdK7OAJ
— SBC NEWS (@SBCGAMINGNEWS) March 20, 2018
The Stars Group, meanwhile, recently reported its 2017 full-year results that showed a profitable corporate revenue increase to $1.3 billion, up from $1.15 billion in 2016. Much of the growth was attributed to its online casino and sportsbook offerings, but online poker was up 3.7% to $877 million for the year as well.
Netherlands Focuses on Internet Gambling
The Netherlands Gaming Authority produced its 2017 report of the nation’s gambling industry and concluded that Dutch politicians should review the “outdated” laws regarding online gambling. Further, the regulator asked the Senate to “urgently” consider passing a pending bill to legalize online gaming in order to regulate the market and crack down on illegal operators.
Missed it? GiH News Roundup: Netherlands Gaming Authority releases annual report; Dutch gov’t informs Lower House of match-fixing strategy https://t.co/1HEAw6tnNK
— Gaming in Holland (@GamingInHolland) March 23, 2018
Meanwhile, the Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs expressed concerns about Netherlands’ territories in the Caribbean, where illegal online gambling appears to be growing.
In conversations with a member of the Dutch Parliament, the lawmakers have tried to clarify the regulations in place for handling the rogue operators in Curacao, Aruba, and St. Maarten. Each island nation has its own laws pertaining to gambling, but issues relating to offshore operators have remained unanswered by the governments of the islands of the Dutch Caribbean.
— Focus Gaming News (@FocusGamingNews) March 23, 2018