Amaya-Owned PokerStars Quit Colombian Market

Publish: 27.07.2017

A leading online poker operator PokerStars has decided to abandon operations in the Colombian market due to overly restrictive online market.

Colombian Market Offers Strict Licensing Rules

Colombia became the first South American country to approve national online gambling legislation last October, but the issues occurred when local regulator Coljuegos opted against allowing its online poker licensees to share liquidity with other jurisdictions. What is more, PokerStars and other licensees were required to base their server in Colombia, which was another drop that forced PokerStars to abandon the Colombian project.

Coljuegos published a blacklist of 325 online gambling domains in March, listing those sites that were viewed as unauthorized for serving Colombian players. It was last week that Coljuegos started punishing those on the blacklist by requiring local internet service providers to block the domain of the Play2Win online casino. The news of the Play2Win getting blocked was first broken via Twitter by Finance Minister Mauricio Cadenas.

The Amaya-owned gaming company remains determined to find the solution to the problem in the future but is forced to close its operations for the time being.

Goodbye Colombia

PokerStars emailed all of its Colombian customers last week, informing them the operator will be closing its real-money poker facility effective Monday, 17 July, listing ‘licensing requirements’ as the main reason behind such a decision.

The free-to-play games will remain unaffected by the Colombian exit as the company confirmed this option will be available in other Latin American jurisdictions as well.

In the meantime, Colombia remains optimistic regarding the country’s prospects of collecting $1.6 million from online gambling fees and taxes in the first year of the regulated market’s operation despite the strict licensing rules that might force other prospective operators to steer away from the Colombian market.

Coljuegos claim the country had thus far received over 60 inquiries and is expecting to have seven of those operators licensed and fully functional by the end of the year.