- Portugal’s online poker market and casino market has seen a revenue drop
- Country is currently in talks over shared liquidity with Spain, France and Italy
It has previously been reported that Portugal’s online poker market has been thriving of late. The country had its very first regulated poker website go live toward the end of last year, operated by online poker giant Pokerstars. To this day, that firm remains the only online poker operator in the country’s market.
Earlier this week, the Portuguese Gambling Regulatory and Inspection Authority (Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos) released information regarding the performance of online poker throughout the year’s second quarter, which ended June 30, 2017. And it has been alleged that the figures demonstrate a downturn of sorts.
Breaking down the numbers
In the three months of 2017’s second quarter, online gambling-related services brought in €25.4 million worth of revenue. This represents a decrease from the year’s first quarter, during which €31.4 million worth of revenue was generated.
The revenue drop experienced by the country’s online poker sector also marks Portugal’s first since May 2016, at which point the first casino license was awarded.
In the last quarter, the industry as a whole shrank from €13.9 million down to €11.4 million over two quarters. Online poker games accounted for 32.6% of the entire online casino sector, with cash games representing 23.9% and tournament poker accounting for 8.7%.
In terms of revenue generation, cash game-poker brought in €2.7 million in the last quarter, which marks a decrease from the €3.3 million reported in the quarter before that. Meanwhile, tournament poker brought in €991,800, down from €1.3 million in the previous quarter.
Joint liquidity possibility
As aforementioned, Portugal’s online wagering sector saw considerable activity last year and into early this year, with around 2,000 players taking part in online cash poker games in the market’s first few days. Some in the industry are now alleging, however that the initial spike in activity has worn off.
There is speculation that this could partly be as a result of the country joining Italy, France, and Spain in preventing its native bettors from joining pools open to international players. However, these four countries have now singed to a joint liquidity project, and last week, France and Spain began their application procedures for any operators interested in taking part in creating a network based on online poker playing.
This project would see the merge of players from across the four jurisdictions from France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal, as opposed to players only being allowed to play in games offered in their own country.
At present, estimates suggest that if terms and conditions are set and negotiations settled according to plan, this project could come to fruition toward the end of the year, or early next year.
The future of sharing
The shared liquidity concept reportedly brings a number of benefits for the players and countries alike, such as increased cash action in peak playing hours and more valuable weekend poker tournaments.
However, some industry experts have expressed concerns about the project, with many claiming that French players – who have ‘always been stronger’ than players from Italy, Spain, and Portugal – could potentially see dominance in the market.
There is also concern that Portuguese players may suffer due to lower disposable incomes and that current player data may not be correct due to a number of loopholes that allow non-locals to play across several jurisdictions.
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