Ladbrokes has reached an agreement with Microgaming to provide online poker to the Spanish and Danish markets, it was announced today.
Denmark will have a full regulatory system in place by January 2012 that allows foreign companies to apply for licenses and, if granted, operate and advertise in the country. Spain is working towards regulated online gaming in 2012 after a bill, fast-tracked through the legislative process earlier this year, laid the groundwork for a regulatory system. The country hopes to have a framework in place by 2012, although elections this week may derail the process.
The Microgaming Network, ranked 9th on PokerScout’s global ranking of poker networks by cash game players, already serves Ladbrokes customers internationally. Other notable skins among the thirty-odd brands that share a player pool include 32Red, StanJames.com, NordicBet and Unibet. The primary operators recently formed a “network management board” to vote on key network decisions. Ladbrokes already operates certain cash game tables separated from the shared player pool.
Currently operating in Spain under the brand LBApuestas (“LB-Bet”), the UK bookmaker hopes to obtain licenses in the newly regulated European markets in the New Year. Whether player liquidity is shared with the international network depends on each country’s regulatory system; as it stands today, the Spanish regulations will not permit a shared player pool.
“We have a strong relationship with Microgaming and our players have always reacted well to their products,” said Adam Greenblatt, director of corporate and strategic development at Ladbrokes. “We are pleased to be working with them as we target new licenses in Spain and Denmark, markets familiar to Ladbrokes already.”
Ladbrokes had originally planned to pursue a license under ARJEL to operate in France, after penning a deal with French media group Canal+ to partner and promote an online poker room. But the group pulled out of the agreement, citing the high revenue-based tax would make operations unprofitable.
However, barring last-minute changes, the proposed regulations in Denmark and Spain appear to be more operator-friendly, and Ladbrokes is expected to be among many jostling for licenses in the new wave of European markets.