SPAIN’S online poker industry has benefited from a shared liquidity with other European countries, including France, Portugal and Italy.
Though they all agreed to the deal in 2017, France and Spain both solidified their position in the first quarter of 2018. Portugal has also recently joined, though Italy is yet to step it up and complete the move. The shared liquidity deal allows players from Spain to compete in tournaments with players from France, and now Portugal whereas previously they could only play against others from Spain.
Shared liquidity so far
France and Spain were the first European countries to hold tournaments with shared prize pools. The France Espana Hold ‘em (FRESH) Series was the first of its kind to be held under the new liquidity agreement and had a guarantee of $5 million. The legendary SCOOP series was also pooled in this way and had a guarantee of $10 million.
After Portugal joined the shared liquidity scheme in May, the Trio Series took place, the first of its kind to involve all three countries. The 78-event series had a massive collective prize pool with a €500,000 guarantee Main Event and awarded nearly €6.5 million in prizes.
Italy still has intentions to join the shared liquidity pool, and when they do, online operators will hold tournaments and series with players from all four countries.
Beneficial for business and players
The shared liquidity opens the door for four previously segregated online markets to join hands in a union. Doing so will allow online operators who have licenses in multiple European countries, such as Full Tilt Poker, to offer an increased variety of games and massive prize pools. Players from Spain can compete against neighbors for huge guarantees.
It’s expected to benefit online operators who will have a steadier flow of traffic and more volume per game. The players, however, will now compete for more money and enjoy shared liquidity tournaments and series.
Online gaming market in Spain
There’s still a lot of potential for the Spanish iGaming market to grow. Countries like the U.K. has gaming built into their culture where Spain has less historic and cultural links. However, the population is now increasingly partaking in iGaming, and with shared liquidity improving the poker scene, as well as more favourable regulations coming into effect, the growth is expected to continue.
Online casinos and poker rooms are already on the rise in Spain. The Direccion General de Ordenacion del Juego (DGOJ) published online revenues for the second quarter of 2017 that stood at $121.3 million, a 22.6 per cent year-on-year increase. Interestingly, online casino revenue increased by around 52.5 per cent from the previous year.
In the first quarter of 2018, the DGOJ figures showed a 27 per cent increase year-on-year, with total online gaming revenues of $190.6 million. Online casino revenues hiked by 51 per cent from the same quarter of the previous year, with slot games accounting for over half of the revenue. Sports-related activity, online poker and online bingo all saw significant increases as well.
Though these figures are still low compared to other EU countries, they show that the Spanish market is growing and still has room to expand further. The move for shared liquidity in Europe could be one of the reasons for the poker growth. Ultimately, the consistent flow of traffic through shared online poker rooms allows for more games and increasing prize pools.