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EU Online Poker Market Took Big Leaps Forward in 2018

George Miller



EU Online Poker Market Took Big Leaps Forward in 2018
Photo Source: EuropeanCommission
Reading Time: 3 minutes


Throughout much of the first decade of the 21st century, poker was one of the most popular games to play online. In the middle of that decade, poker’s popularity soared to heights that put the game in the history books. That poker boom was primarily spurred by Chris Moneymaker’s 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event victory, courtesy of a PokerStars satellite tournament online.

Online poker sites popped up everywhere in the years that followed. Every sports betting site established an online poker vertical, and every player logged on to at least one of them to live their version of the poker dream. There was merchandise to win, fame to claim, tournament travel packages to win, and millions of dollars on the line. Poker was on every computer and television, and everyone could dream of becoming a poker pro.

However, the US government made a move that began to change it all. In 2006, the United States Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which was subsequently signed into law. Its language was murky, but it was threatening enough to force several online poker operators – most notably PartyPoker – out of the US market.

Several years later, on a day that became known as Black Friday, the US Department of Justice seized the domains of PokerStars, Full Tilt, UltimateBet, and Absolute Poker on April 15, 2011. The indictments of online poker executives and the shutdown of insolvent companies created a snowball effect that changed the poker world forever.

The poker boom was over. And a new era of nation-based poker markets began.

Pieces of the Poker Pie

Governments in some nations around the world began to see internet poker as an industry that only benefited the companies themselves, and governments were not receiving what they viewed as their fair share of the revenues.

Italy was one of the first countries to call for a ban on dot-com poker sites and require operators to obtain licensing from the Italian government to service only Italian players. This gave the Italian regulator, AAMS (Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stado), the ability to control what type of gambling was offered in the country and the revenue derived from it.

Other countries followed suit. France, Spain, and Portugal were just a few of the countries in Europe that took the same approach, establishing regimes within their borders to keep players from competing on dot-com poker sites.

While all of these countries believed they were grabbing their pieces of the poker pie, they neglected to realize that online poker thrived because of the liquidity, the ability for players around the world to compete at the same tables, which allowed sites to offer bigger cash games, tournaments, satellites, etc. When countries separated their players from the rest of the world, the liquidity disappeared, and so did much of the appeal created by the poker boom.

Building Partnerships

Regulators in Spain, France, Italy, and Portugal began to see the benefits of liquidity. And they figured out a way to share players – thereby enhancing the player pools and opportunities – while also keeping the revenue from sites registered within their countries.

In the summer of 2017, after several years of talks among the four regulators, their representatives gathered in Rome to sign an agreement to share online poker action.

The process moved quickly for Portugal, which had only one poker site – PokerStars – registered in its market. In fact, PokerStars was the only site available in all four countries, and it also had experience with the technology necessary to establish a shared poker network. Spain and France launched their combined PokerStars tables in the first quarter of 2018, and Portugal soon joined as well.

From there, it took only a few months for PartyPoker to share its French and Spanish poker players, and Winamax did the same shortly thereafter. Most recently, the iPoker network of sites that includes BetClic, Betfair, Unibet, and Casino Barcelona, received its final approval to share poker online in France and Spain and will launch before the end of 2018.

As the European market grows, players in those countries can return to the tables with more tournaments, bigger guarantees, and more opportunities to play the kind of lucrative games that were available during the poker boom.

Future Growth

The growth of the shared EU online poker market is limited due to the number of players in those countries. And without the cooperation of Italy, which is now working toward more online gaming bans due to a change in governmental views, there is a cap as to how big the market can become.

Countries like Switzerland and Sweden are opening their markets to licensing and could soon have regulated markets that are solid and seeking growth. That growth is available in the European partnership that is already established and showing what shared poker liquidity can do. Further growth lies in new markets joining that partnership.

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Industry News

NSoft Days – trend presentations for stakeholders

Zoltan Tundik



Reading Time: 1 minute


NSoft is organizing a two-day immersion with future thinkers and do-ers. The NSoft days will be held on August 23-24, 2019 in order to present the how and why NSoft sets future trends.

Topics like how to implement AI into products, Machine Learning as well as the insight into the future of app building are to be presented to more than 60 business partners and are to provide an excellent networking opportunity. NSoft’s guests will be able to participate in a series of workshops and presentations, where NSoft’s team will be showcasing the most relevant global trends and the future of NSoft including Vision and Chameleon.

Additionally, NSoft’s guests will be able to participate at a must-see event Red Bull Cliff Diving. NSoft has decided to blend NSoft days with this world-know Mostar edition of this Red Bull event by sponsoring it and will host its guests at the VIP zone of the event.

In order to obtain in-depth information about the latest NSoft’s innovations and products, feel free to book a meeting with our representatives at

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Industry News

Approval of Foundation Level Gambling Industry Tester Specialist Syllabus by ISTQB®

Niji Narayan



Reading Time: 2 minutes


International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) is a software testing certification organisation that operates internationally, founded in Edinburgh in November 2002. The company has approved the release of 2019 version of the ISTQB® Gambling Industry Tester Specialist (GT) Syllabus.

The GT Syllabus gives essential understanding and knowledge to anyone involved in testing in the gambling industry and also reflects the current best practices and procedures for testing in the gambling industry.

The ISTQB® provides the new GT Syllabus as follows:


  1. To the ISTQB® Member Boards, to translate into their local language and to accredit training providers. Member boards may adapt the syllabus to their particular language needs and modify the references to adapt to their local glossary terms.
  2. To the certification bodies, to derive examination questions in their local language adapted to the learning objectives for this syllabus
  3. To the training providers, to produce courseware and determine appropriate teaching methods
  4. To the certification candidates, to prepare for the certification exam (either as part of a training course or independently)
  5. To the international software and systems engineering community, to advance the profession of software testing, and as a basis for books and articles.


ISTQB® President, Olivier Denoo, stated – “the focus of ISTQB® is towards addressing its customers main needs. The Gambling Industry Tester certification, will address a growing market of Gaming of all kinds, including Gambling games, which has a great potential for those developing and testing those games. We have shown with this certification we are not looking only for huge markets, but also on unique trends and customers who needs certifications in today’s growing IT market”.

Alon Linetzki, ISTQB® Marketing working group chair added: “as ISTQB® is trying to address evolving and new areas of testing and target Software Testers, came out this unique syllabus. It addresses the needs of a growing industry – Gaming and Gambling Testing – which this is the first syllabus in that domain”.


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Industry News

iovation Research: Fraudsters Increasingly Leveraging Mobile Devices for Schemes

George Miller



iovation Research: Fraudsters Increasingly Leveraging Mobile Devices for Schemes
Reading Time: 3 minutes


TransUnion company explores top continents and countries for risky mobile transactions, and types of behavior businesses to need to look for to catch mobile fraud

iovation, a TransUnion company, today released its recent research that about half of all risky online transactions appear to be coming from a mobile device. Specifically, in the first half of 2019 iovation saw 49% of all risky transactions come from mobile devices, up from 30% in 2018, 33% in 2017 and 25% in 2016.

“Fraudsters are like chameleons. They are always adapting their tactics to make it look like they’re legitimate customers,” said iovation’s Senior Director of Customer Success, Melissa Gaddis. “With well over half of all transactions now coming from mobile devices, our analysts increasingly see fraudsters either using mobile devices or making it look like their transactions are coming from mobile when in fact they are using a traditional desktop.”

Among its research, iovation found:

  • The top continents for mobile fraud: So far in 2019 it is North America with 59% of all risky transactions coming from mobile devices. In 2018, it was Asia at 53%. In 2017, it was North America with 55%. In 2016, it was North America again with 36%.

  • The top countries for mobile fraud: Gabon leads so far in 2019 with 85% of all risky transactions coming from mobile devices. It 2018, it was Japan with 79%. Papua New Guinea led in 2017 with 86%. In 2016, it was Bangladesh with 59%.

  • The top industries for mobile fraud: So far in 2019 it is telecommunications with 75% of all risky transactions coming from mobile devices. In 2018, it was gambling with 60%. Communities (for example social networks or online dating sites) led in 2017 at 59%. In 2016, it was healthcare with 58%.

To find fraudulent transactions from mobile devices, iovation suggests businesses closely analyze specific indicators including:

  • Mobile emulators: Fraudsters like to hide information by using emulators to make it look like their desktop device is a mobile device.

  • Orientation: Is a device staying in the same position or is it face down? These could be tell-tale signs of a bot or a fraudster emulating a mobile device.

  • SIM card country: Since fraudsters often try to mask their location, the SIM card country provides yet another method for identifying the true location of the end-user. Fraud analysts may find fraudsters that target their businesses tend to have devices from particular countries.

  • SIM card carrier name: Certain mobile carriers can have a higher percentage of fraudulent activity originating from them.

  • Currency: The type of currency tied to a device provides additional context to the region associated with the device. This can be another way to determine if the device is coming from a risky location.

  • Language: Much like countries, carriers and currency, the language used on a device provides additional context on the transaction which can help crack a fraud case when a fraudster is attempting to mask other aspects of their device.

  • Mobile OS version: Certain mobile operating system versions may correlate with fraud or abuse.


Mobile Transaction Jump

iovation found 61% of all online transactions came from mobile devices so far this year, up from 56% in 2018, 51% in 2017 and 45% in 2016. Europe and North America are consistently among the top continents for mobile transactions with 67% and 60% respectively so far this year. The top industry for mobile transactions so far in 2019 is communities with 73%.

For more insights into iovation’s findings along with new iovation features to catch mobile fraud, go to this blog post that includes an infographic.


iovation came to its findings by analyzing the 30 billion online transactions it evaluated for fraud from January 2016 to June 30, 2019. To find the risky mobile transactions, it calculated the percent of risky transactions from mobile devices compared to overall risky transactions. For overall mobile transactions, it calculated the percent of mobile transactions compared to all online transactions. iovation defines risky transactions as those that typically result in fraud.


About iovation:

iovation, a TransUnion company, was founded with a simple guiding mission: to make the Internet a safer place for people to conduct business. Since 2004, the company has been delivering against that goal, helping brands protect and engage their customers, and keeping them secure in the complex digital world. Armed with the world’s largest and most precise database of reputation insights and cryptographically secure multifactor authentication methods, iovation safeguards tens of millions of digital transactions each day.


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