Global Glance: PokerStars to India, 888 May Leave Germany

Global Glance: PokerStars to India, 888 May Leave Germany
News from the Caribbean to Europe and India this week

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.

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.

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.

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.

 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.

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 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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