PokerStars has decided to withdraw from the Australian market after the Australian Senate went ahead and approved the 2016 Internet Gambling Amendment Bill last week.
The online poker giant sent an email to all its players based in Australia this week informing them of its decision to pull out of the Australian market by mid-September. An exact date is yet to be provided but the company has confirmed that it will be announced shortly.
The announcement does not come as a surprise since PokerStars has said earlier that if gaming regulations are changed in the country it would withdraw from the market. It follows other operators who have already exited the market including 888poker.
PokerStars which is world’s largest poker site controlling over 70 percent of the global market share had been offering gaming services to Australian citizens via its Isle of Man global gaming license. With the amendment bill being approved, the new laws will come into force within 30 days. Under its provisions, all online gaming conducted without a license will be illegal.
In its message to its customers, PokerStars said that it respected the decision of the Australian government to introduce regulations to safeguard consumer interests. The site will however continue offering play money gaming till further notice.
In a statement PokerStars said
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
After PokerStars finalizes its exit date, it will allow players to withdraw the remaining money available in their accounts. Players will also be able to convert their StarsCoin for cash in increments of $1.00.
Australian players who campaigned extensively against the ban are hopeful that a real money poker bill will be introduced in the future though it may be some time that happens according to industry observers.
PokerStars’ revenue is not likely to suffer a major impact from the loss of Australian customers. According to an earlier report, Australia contributes to just around 2.5 percent of the company’s total online poker revenue.
Its parent company, the Stars Group has retained its estimates for current year revenue which is between $1.2 billion and $1.26 billion despite the loss. The company has recorded a drop in online poker revenue as seen in its second quarter report. Rake went down 5.9 percent year-on-year to $202.9 million during the quarter ending in June, but its gaming win was up 6.8 percent to $305.3 million driven by casino games and sports betting.