PokerStars is Looking for a Partner to Gain Entry to Swiss Market
The world’s largest online poker room, PokerStars will need to find a way to stay in Switzerland after the reorganization of the country’s gambling market is completed.
Under the provisions of the Swiss new Money Gaming Act, which went into force on the first day of this year, all of 21 land-based casinos operating in Switzerland will be able to offer online casino games and betting.
Looking for the Right Partner
Starting from July 1, the Swiss gambling authority – Eidgenössische Spielbankenkommission (ESBK) – is able to order the country’s Internet service providers to blacklist all those websites operating without a license.
And while the Swiss Money Gaming Act allows the local land-based venues to operate online, foreign operators can offer their services to customers in Switzerland only through a partnership with a total of 21 land-based casinos. Without such a partnership, their domains can be blacklisted and blocked.
The flagship brand of the Canadian online gambling giant The Stars Group hasn’t inked a deal with any of the Swiss brick and mortar venues, although it has indicated it wishes to remain present in the local market.
Commenting on the current situation in Switzerland, the company’s spokesperson said the operator was currently executing plans to ensure PokerStars would continue to be the market leader in the Swiss poker Market.
We presume this means that PokerStars is looking to sign a deal with a local partner, which would allow the operators to legally operate in this European country.
But until that happens, PokerStars announced its withdrawal from the Swiss online gambling market. The company explained it didn’t want to upset local lawmakers but it did point out it planned to return as soon as possible.
Avoiding Unregulated Markets
PokerStars has been avoiding unregulated markets over the past several years, in order to keep a clean record. The operator was banished from the United States after it was discovered it had accepted US players after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act went into effect back in 2006.
A source from PokerStars said the company was currently working with its Swiss gaming partner who was responsible for arranging the necessary approvals with the authorities in order to provide licensed poker for Swiss residents.
The sources say that as soon as PokerStars’ local partner obtained the necessary approvals, players would need to upgrade to new software, which would offer the opportunity to play with the same players in the same games that had been enjoyed on the old software.
According to available information, PokerStars is expected to relaunch online poker in Switzerland through a partnership with Casino Davos, which is already authorized for online gaming in the country.
A total of four local land-based casinos have been approved by the Swiss Federal Council to launch online gambling operations on July 1.
It should be noted that PokerStars is not the only renowned operator that made a decision to leave the Swiss market. A number of renowned names, including William Hill have already fled the local market, much to the dismay of their clients.