The fourth informal meeting of European regulators took place earlier this month in Rome, with reports that player pool sharing was the main thrust of discussions.
More detail has now become available, thanks to a Poker News interview with Giovanni Carboni, the managing partner of Carboni & Partners consultancy group and a founder of the professional association European Gambling Lawyers and Advisors.
Carboni confirmed that shared player liquidity was extensively discussed, but said that hosts the Italian AAMS had other items on the agenda as well.
High on the list were the priorities of AAMS Remote Gaming chief Francesco Rodano, who is focused on the role and responsibilities of online gaming providers, along with measures for combatting non-licensed operators and offers conflicting with Italian legislation.
Carboni said that Rodano was keen to follow the example of Spain and the United Kingdom by including responsibilities to be imposed on online gambling providers through Italian legislation.
“I believe we [in Italy] should expect the implementation in Italy of new measures based on other countries’ best practices both for online casino and online poker,” he told Poker News.
Carboni said that shared player liquidity was widely acknowledged by the regulators as an issue of decisive importance for the revitalisation of the online poker industry.
This was especially true of the Spanish and Italian markets, which had shown sharp declines, although neither country had to date shown real determination in addressing the liquidity problem.
Carboni speculated that the recent resignation of French regulator Jean-François Vilotte was the result of frustration over French political attitudes against shared player pools, and he went on to explore the possibilities of a closer United Kingdom involvement in the shared player pool debate.
“Besides Italy’s Francesco Rodano and Spain’s Carlos Hernandez Rivera, UK Gambling Commission Commissioner and Chief Executive Jenny Williams expressed her commitment on the field of shared liquidity,” Carboni revealed.
“The process is still in its early stage and far from becoming operative. Right now different authorities are still studying the measures needed for it. [The] UK’s authority can play a key role in this phase, both for the dimension of its market and for the experience it acquired in the dot-com context.”
The topic of technical harmonisation was also discussed in Rome, Carboni says.
“Cooperation is moving forward to homogenize technical requirements of different systems and to streamline bureaucratic processes of authorization and permission,” he reported.
“Also, comparable data on the performance of online gaming markets will be published every six months.”