Online Giant PokerStars leaves China, Macau and Taiwan

PokerStars is leaving China, Macau and Taiwan as its parent company declared its plans to switch off black markets.

Online Giant PokerStars leaves China, Macau and Taiwan image

Online Giant PokerStars leaves China, Macau and Taiwan

This Monday, August 31st, a user on the online 2+2 poker forum posted a screenshot of a message from Star Support, informing the following one of its customers: "as of 1st of September we'll be exiting China, Taiwan, and Macau".

Also according to the same message, the company has been making a number of banking changes: lowering the minimum amount available for bank wires for players in these markets and permitting in Taiwan withdrawals without a previous deposit by the customers through Skrill and NETELLER "in order to facilitate player withdrawals".

Neither Taiwan, China nor Macau markets allow legal real-money poker play online. China has been fighting "cross-border illegal gambling" harder than ever, scrutinizing thoroughly the processing of online payment for gambling operators.

Online poker giant PokerStars is reportedly exiting China, Taiwan, and Macau just days after its parent company said it planned to "switch off" markets that fell outside its compliance standards. A few days ago, Flutter Entertainment declared to face strict control over The Stars Group (TSG), the unit of which PokerStars is part. As Flutter announced, there were "a small number of TSG jurisdictions that Flutter had previously determined it would not operate in and in such cases, we have now switched these markets off" and also declared that it wanted to highly improve “the quality of TSGs safer gambling/anti-money laundering procedures.”

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+ the largest traffic in the world
+ very good software
+ the biggest online MTT tournaments
- rb in the form of random chests
- the biggest number of regular players in the world

Flutter estimates the costs for the company would be around £65m per year together with the market withdrawals, a price that the company seems to consider worth paying to avoid any block back in other jurisdictions like the United States which are more important.

PokerStars used to rely on a ready stream of business that came from Russia's no-more-black market, which prohibits all online gambling activities but sports betting. 131 PokerStars-related domains are currently featured online on Roskomnadzor, a blacklist of Russia's telecom watchdog, two of them were added in the past few months, as recently as June.

Following the example of China, Russian government authorities have been focusing on trying their best to interfere with the processing of payments for online gambling. Rafi Ashkenazi, a former CEO of TSG, openly boasted about the company's effort to dibble those measures from the Russian government to the cash flow, before stepping down from Flutter's board just a week ago.

Betfair, which is one of Flutter's brands, has cut off its customers in Russia since May, so it is likely that Russian players are constantly checking their news and are soon to receive news of PokerStars also bidding them their goodbyes as well.

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