One of the most criticized features of the Spanish regulated market for online gambling has been its restricted liquidity: players registered with licensed operators in Spain are currently only able to play against peers registered precisely with operators holding Spanish licenses. This "ring-fenced" market approach has had a significant impact in games where users play among them, being poker one of the most obvious examples. Nonetheless, this system appears to be close to an end and give place to a more flexible and attractive shared-liquidity model.
Indeed, the Spanish General Directorate for Gambling Affairs -so-called DGOJ- that shared liquidity for poker will be available in Spain in the next months, allowing online gambling operators to offer the possibility to play against other players located in a different European country (as long as said country has executed the corresponding shared liquidity agreement). Therefore, Spanish players will be soon allowed to participate in poker games with players located in other countries within the EU.
In this respect, on July 6, the gambling authorities of Spain, France, Italy and Portugal will be signing an agreement for the launching of shared liquidity for poker. This experience will likely be the first test that the Spanish authorities will be taking with liquidity going beyond national boundaries and could potentially give place to expanded international liquidity for other games in the future.
After the signing of said agreement, each of the involved national regulators shall be required to enact the internal rules for their corresponding countries making the launching of this system possible. In the case of Spain, this will be made by means of a specific decision from the director of the DGOJ confirming the agreement with the other authorities, accompanied of a number of amendments to the technical regulations in order ensure proper reporting of transactions affected by this new shared-liquidity system.
This is the first formal step aimed at allowing shared liquidity for poker being available in Spain in the next months.