EUROPEAN REGULATORS DISCUSS SHARED PLAYER LIQUIDITY
But complicated taxation arrangements may be a serious obstacle.
European lawmakers who thought that segregating their online poker players from others in dedicated networks was the best course are now beginning to realise that the most effective way to go is shared player liquidity,.
But changing to a more sensible regime is made more difficult by the complicated taxation arrangements in place in various nations.
OPRs report discussed last weeks gathering in Paris, France of regulators from the Austrian, British, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and French markets, who discussed the international liquidity issue along with a slew of other concerns that included “standardization, anti-money laundering and anti-financing terrorism, sport betting risk analysis and responsible gambling.”
It appears that regulators have largely now accepted that segregated player pools was not the smartest way to go, generating less tax, higher costs and pushing players away from regulated markets in order to escape higher rake and tournament fees and benefit from better tournament guarantees.
The article notes that France has already secured parliamentary approval to negotiate shared liquidity arrangements with like-minded nations in the EU and EEA, subject to conditions which include a restriction to certain "circle games" such as Hold’em and Omaha poker, Omaha 5, 2-7 Triple Draw and 7-Card Stud.
The authority was only given in May this year, so it is to be expected that France will be making moves to address the liquidity problem through agreements with nations like Italy, the UK, Spain and Portugal.
However, the situation is complicated by the diverse and often complicated individual tax regimes in different European countries, accepting that operators will probably be tasked with meeting these needs by differentiating what taxes are due on which players.
This obstacle was recently underlined by Pier Paolo Baretta, the Italian minister overseeing online gambling, who told a media outlet that the VAT tax directive from the European Commission, along with other tax laws in various nations, made the issue one not just about online poker, but European taxation too…and in his opinion there is no simple, single solution.