Stars Group targets partial liquidity pooling in FIPS

15 November 2017

The Stars Group has said that it expects partial liquidity pooling to commence in France, Italy, Portugal and Spain early next year.

In July, the four countries signed a long-awaited poker liquidity agreement in a move that will allow operators active across more than one of the markets to merge their player pools.

At the time, French online regulator ARJEL said it would work with counterpart organisations in Italy, Portugal and Spain to “make their best efforts to enable effective implementation by the end of the year”.

Although the system is yet to come into effect, Brian Kyle, chief financial officer at The Stars Group, said in a conference call after the company’s announced its third-quarter financial results that partial pooling could begin in early 2018.

“We continue to work with the regulators of each country to support this effort and are optimistic that partial pooling will commence in early 2018,” Kyle said.

Kyle also spoke about the company's plans to expand its service offering into Pennsylvania, which last month became the latest US state to legalise online gaming.

New laws in the state will enable operators to obtain a licence and offer online poker and casino, among other gambling services, within its borders.

Kyle said The Stars Group, which owns and operates leading online poker brand PokerStars, will monitor the situation in Pennsylvania, with a view to obtaining a licence and launching services in the state.

“With a population almost twice the size of New Jersey, Pennsylvania is poised to become a significant marketplace for igaming, and a potential boost to our US poker business as Pennsylvania is expected to share liquidity with NJ and other US states as they regulate,” Kyle said.

“We are optimistic that Pennsylvania will be a catalyst for other US states to continue the momentum of iGaming regulation in the US.

Meanwhile, the Reuters news agency has report that Stars Group chief executive Rafi Ashkenazi has said the company could raise up to $2.5bn (€2.1bn) to fund acquisitions if necessary.

Ashkenazi said discussions are ongoing, but stopped short of naming any of the companies involved in the process.

Reuters also reported that Ashkenazi said he is looking at buying either one large company or between three and five small-to-medium businesses.

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