PokerStars has become the first operator to go live with a pooled poker liquidity network after securing approval from French and Spanish regulatory authorities.
The possibility to share online poker liquidity came into effect yesterday (January 16th) after Spanish regulations were published in the country's Official State Gazette.
French regulator L'Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL) had already approved PokerStars to launch cross-border pools in December last year, with certification from Spain's Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) allowing it to launch the tables.
"This will be great for players and great for the poker category," The Stars Group chief operating officer Guy Templer said.
"The French and Spanish regulators have done an excellent job in enabling a dramatic improvement in the gaming experience in their jurisdictions. Now French and Spanish players can access a larger player pool with bigger prizes, promotions and a better selection of games, all with the confidence provided by a trusted, licensed operator.
"Having a strong, competitive regulated offering – which comes from combining player pools – has proven to be attractive to consumers who might otherwise be choosing to play on unlicensed and potentially unsafe sites," he added.
PokerStars is promoting the launch with a new tournament, the France Espania Hold'em, which will be open to players in both countries from January 28th to February 11th, with a €5m prize pool.
The operator has also updated its range of daily and weekly tournaments, with four taking place each day with prizes ranging from €10,000 to €25,000. It will also hold two special events on Sunday, El Clásico /Le Classico, offering a €75,000 guaranteed prize pool, and the Sunday Special, with €150,000 up for grabs.
The launch follows last year's signing of an agreement between French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish regulators in July. However Portugal and Italy are yet to announce a timeline for joining the French-Spanish network.
"We're looking forward to extending this to Italian and Portuguese players, and offer our full support to the relevant authorities in those countries to do so," Templer said. "In particular, we would encourage Italy to resume their drive toward shared liquidity which after a good start has recently slowed considerably."
Shares in The Stars Group Inc (TOR:TSGI) closed up 1.93 per cent at CAD$30.09 per share in Toronto Tuesday.