PokerStars Pulling the Plug: Real Money Games No Longer Offered in Numerous Countries

6 years ago
PokerStars Pulling the Plug: Real Money Games No Longer Offered in Numerous Countries
01 Oct

As much as it sucks to be a bearer of bad news, our predictions from an article published couple weeks ago came to life. Yesterday’s thread on 2 + 2 forums confirmed the speculations as Poker Stars have started pulling the plug on numerous markets across the globe.

A message that appeared on the screens on many Poker Stars player yesterday reads as follows:

Our management team regularly reviews our operation along with independent 3rd party professionals to assess the business risk and opportunities for our brand on a market-by-market basis. Following our most recent review, it was determined that we would no longer offer real money games in your country.

Players were left in disbelief as this was done without any real previous warning and the decisions kicked in literally in the matter of hours. Apart from several articles on various sites hinting at this possibility, there was no real confirmation or denial coming from Poker Stars regarding this issue.

According to an email quoted by a 2 + 2 user and other sources, countries now restricted include:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Cuba
  • Egypt
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Kuwait
  • Malaysia
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Nigeria
  • North Korea
  • Pakistan
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Tanzania
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Yemen
  • Zimbabwe
  • Territory of Palestine
  • Vatican City

It is a long list of those who will no longer be able to enjoy poker at the world’s largest online room. Although it is not a big shock to see the Stars bailing from the areas that clearly belong to grey or black market category, it is somewhat surprising that it has all happened in such a short period of time.

The FAQ page devoted specifically to forbidden jurisdictions in now live on Poker Stars pages answering some of the most common questions that users may have, but not giving a clear answer to the most important one – why? The company is only saying that offering games in certain jurisdictions is no longer worth a risk, but are unwilling to give specific answers regarding particular countries and this is unlikely to change.

Players from restricted countries will not suffer a financial loss as they are able to withdraw their money and convert their FPPs into cash, and any FPPs remaining after that will be kept in the players’ accounts for future use, if Poker Stars start offering games again in any particular jurisdiction.

Who Goes Down Next?

Poker community in general was really confounded by this most recent development and many of them were wondering if this can happen without any warning, who will be the next to go?

It is true that these countries may have not been the biggest producers of players, but judging by the reactions, quite a few serious players were affected. While it is understandable that being a publicly traded company, Poker Stars have to bear the shareholders’ interest in mind, some early warning would certainly be a nice courtesy gesture if nothing else.

As things stand right now, future does not look bright for players from restricted countries and there could be another wave or two of restrictions coming soon. It would be hard to speculate on who goes next as it is really tightly connected to number of regulations and, probably, the yield of any particular country, but there are still many jurisdictions where poker is either semi-legal or not regulated at all.

By the looks of it, new Poker Stars will be looking to get rid of all the loose ends and focus heavily on regulated markets where they feel the money they invest in marketing and other business-related things is safe and will be making long-term returns.

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Ivan Potocki is the editor in chief and one of the lead news writers for PokerTube. His natural flair and enthusiasm for journalism combined with a deep poker knowledge make him an exciting contributor for PokerTube.The experience garnered playing poker professionally for several years and the knowl...Read more


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