Portugal's regulated online poker market will not be open to international liquidity, as the country plans to follow France's example and segregate the players active on the soon-to-be-launched dot-pt poker rooms.
The plan became public on Dec. 1 during a conference organized in Lisbon by Gambling Compliance. Joining the discussion was Manuela Bandeira, the Head of Online Gambling at Portugal's gaming authority, and it was explained that the country will launch a ring-fenced market similar to the ones already in place in Spain and France. Only at a later stage will the country evaluate the opportunity to share liquidity with others.
"International liquidity is important for poker, as it allows small markets to be be more competitive," Bandeira explained. "It's not a simple issue and we need to work more closely with other regulatory bodies from different countries in order to understand how to make it work."
Talking to PokerNews Portugal, Bandeira confirmed that the market will be a ring-fenced one, even if the regulator plans to change that in the future, allowing Portugal's poker players to join the international players pool.
Bandeira explained that the regulator is aware of the consequences that a closed market will have for the industry, and it will work to make sure that the country can be soon part of an enlarged poker market that would include also the players from Spain and France.
According to Bandeira, should the European Union approve the country's proposal to regulate the industry, Portugal's first legal online poker games could take place as early as February 2016.
Back in November, Portugal's leading financial publication Economico stated that "national and international companies" applied for a license to offer gambling services within the countries. Although the country's regulator decided not to release the names of the applicants, Economico added that the list of those who requested a license includes the companies that run Portugal's brick-and-mortar casinos as well as Betclic and Betfair.
However, as reported here on PokerNews, also online poker giants as PokerStars, 888poker, and Full Tilt have been all reportedly interested in obtaining a license to offer their services in the country, once the regulate poker market will begin to operate.
*Image courtesy of Carlos Paes/FreeImages.com.