PokerStars has been in the news a lot lately.
The world's largest online gaming company announced some important details surrounding the rewards program for 2017, launched a new Sit & Go game called Beat the Clock, Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody released his first vlog and Amaya Inc. co-founder David Baazov announced a bid to acquire the gaming company.
There may be some good news for poker players in Portugal as well, who have been locked out of PokerStars. According to Amaya's third-quarter conference call, PokerStars plans to launch in the country sometime soon and is waiting on final steps for regulatory approval.
The Portuguese regulator has issues in total two for casino games and two for sports wagering, but none for online poker. PokerStars hopes to be the first to launch a ring-fenced poker environment, which is a tricky scenario for Portuguese residents.
The good news is that players will be able to enjoy the PokerStars software for the first time in almost two years, however, they will not join the worldwide player pool and instead operate similarly to segregated markets, like the company's current operators in France, Italy, Spain and New Jersey.
However, at some point in the future, Portuguese players will at least be able to enjoy some liquidity (there is currently an effort around Europe to share liquidity). Regulators in France and Italy are moving toward combining online poker liquidity in the near future and it is possible that regulators in Portugal and other countries could consider joining in as well.
Before that can happen, legislation must be finalized in Portugal to allow shared liquidity, which will then need to be submitted to the European Commission for a three-month review.
While a lack of shared liquidity when the first online poker licenses are issued may deter some online gaming operators from offering services to the Portuguese population, which in Portugal comes in around 10 million, PokerStars likely sees merit in forging ahead on the poker side where it will be one of the industry leaders as well and cross-sell on other verticals it already has licenses for.
*Lead image courtesy of deviantart.net.