PokerStars has begun withdrawing from a number of markets. A report from PokerStars stated that the company is conducting a risk analysis of various countries throughout the world. It intends to withdraw from unregulated markets that pose significant business risks.
The report didn’t list the countries PokerStars has withdrawn from. However, players from Turkey, Iran, Malaysia and Nigeria have confirmed receiving emails stating that services in their jurisdiction have been discontinued. Players have been notified that their funds are safe, but will need to be withdrawn.
PokerStars hasn’t provided an explanation for its decision to pull out of these markets. Some experts speculate that it wants to pull from grey markets to protect its standing in larger, regulated markets. The new gambling laws in the United Kingdom stipulate that the gambling authority can revoke licenses to companies that offer services in countries that have banned online gambling.
The UKGC and other regulators argue that companies offering services on the grey markets are less trustworthy. PokerStars may fear that participating in those markets may compromise its application in New Jersey.
Full Tilt players in those jurisdictions have received similar emails. They have been notified that partially earned milestones towards prizes can be redeemed for cash.
PokerStars states that it still intends to maintain a presence in Canada. Amaya Gaming, parent company of PokerStars, is based in Canada and intends to maintain its market share. However, it previously announced that it would remain in all markets it is currently serving, so it may change its mind in the future. Several other companies are expected to pull out of the market due to the new UK gambling laws. Ladbrokers has already withdrawn from the market and several other companies may follow suit.