PokerStars to Exit Australia in Mid-SeptemberAugust 14, 2017 3:50 pm
After the Australian government gave final approval to a bill effectively banning online gambling and poker in the country, PokerStars has now announced its imminent departure from the lucrative market, with its exit expected sometime “around mid-September”. The world’s biggest online poker site’s departure follows the exit of a number of other major operators from Australia, including 888poker, 32Red, Vera&John, and Gaming Innovation Group.
Meanwhile, PokerStars has assured its Australian customers that their funds are safe, although the operator is also encouraging them to start making the necessary withdrawals ahead of time. Furthermore, any unused rewards, such as Star Coins and tournament tickets, will be converted into money from the time it officially exits the real-money gambling market next month.
PokerStars will still maintain a presence down-under, though, albeit offering play-money poker instead, and as it explained in an email sent to its Aussie customers:
“We’re proud to have seen the Australian poker community grow so strong over the last decade. We do respect the Australian Government’s decision in taking steps to protect consumers and hope that in time we’ll be able to serve real-money poker to you again.”
The recently approved bill makes the provision of online gaming illegal in Australia without first having obtained a required iGambling license, with stiff penalties levied on those operators who seek to flaunt the law. Unfortunately, there is currently no information available as to how any interested companies may go about applying for such a license from authorities.
Needless to say, the development comes as a crushing blow to the country’s legion of online poker pros and enthusiasts alike, thought to number around 130,000 people out of a population of 24 million, who have enjoyed competing against rival players from all across the globe over the years.