A plan to allow online poker liquidity sharing among select countries in the European Union should be in force this month, according to French gaming regulator Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne.
French-licensed online poker operators can currently offer their services to players outside the country, but people living in France can only play on those domestically licensed networks. Those limitations along with high tax rates on online gaming operators in the country may have caused a long slide in France’s online poker market. According to report in Poker News last month, the industry hit its peak in 2011, and currently almost half of the country’s players play on unlicensed sites.
In 2016, French President Charles Coppolani proposed international shared liquidity, a plan confirmed by French Budget Minister Christian Eckert, who said the approach would be advanced in the then-pending Digital Bill, which was intended to establish a principle of internet neutrality.
In January, the bill passed without reference to shared liquidity. Then ARJEL said amendment that was forthcoming in April would allow shared player liquidity for French-regulated online gaming networks.
Last month ARJEL said it expects liquidity sharing to begin June. But according to the regulator, online poker operators may not be able to submit their software for technical standards testing until September “at the earliest.”
ARJEL said it would “make every effort” to ensure liquidity sharing starts “as soon as possible,” but did not set a timeline for the process to be complete.