In Portugal, the national gambling regulator has issued its second license for the operation of an online casino in the nation to the local BEM Operations Limited subsidiary of French gambling giant Betclic-Everest Group.

July saw the Servico Regulacao E Inspecao De Jogos Do Turismo De Portugal regulator issue its first online casino operating license to local firm Estoril Sol Digital Online Gaming Products And Services while Betclic-Everest Group had earlier been licensed along with Malta-based Bet Entertainment Technologies Limited for the operation of a sportsbook via the Internet in Portugal.

However, Portugal has yet to issue an inaugural online poker license despite legalizing such activities in late-April and many industry experts are advising that it could still be some time before this authorization is eventually realized due to the government’s inability to pass suitable liquidity-sharing legislation.

With 10.34 million people, Portugal has roughly the same population as North Carolina and the sharing of liquidity with operators located in other European Union nations is seen as a prerequisite in order to make any online poker offerings viable. But, the government has yet to file the appropriate paperwork with the European Commission and recently drew criticism for this delay from the local Associacao Nacional De Apostadores Online (ANAON) gambling group.

ANAON noted in an official statement that five months had elapsed since the final deadline for comments concerning the government‘s most recent draft of proposed online poker regulations as well as suggested rules covering exchange betting with no action. It also explained that it has been nearly 15 months since foreign online casinos had been ordered to exit the Portuguese market if they wanted to be considered for a license under the new local regulations.

Any proposed liquidity-sharing rules Portuguese legislators send to the European Commission will be subject to a comment period that could last for up to four months, which has prompted some in the industry to predict that the nation’s first online poker license may not be issued before the summer of 2017.