PokerStars Exits China, Macau and Taiwan Markets

Online poker is banned in China, Macau, and Taiwan, but renowned online poker operator PokerStars has always found ways of circumventing regulations in these places. This will, however, no longer be the case as the Flutter Entertainment-owned online poker platform is now reportedly withdrawing from these “black markets”.

The move is, as it turns out, a huge part of the company’s plans for the future. PokerStars came under the leadership of Flutter Entertainment after its owner The Stars Group inked a massive multi-billion-dollar deal with the Flutter. Now, the newly-formed group will be operating under the Flutter name and the first area that they want to focus on is offering their best in regulated markets. Some of the markets they have their sights set include US states where online poker is legal.

News of the withdrawal from the three territories came after quite a number of PokerStars account holders posted screenshots on Two Plus Two, a popular poker forum, showing emails they had received from the poker operator. These emails stated that PokerStars would no longer be offering its services in Taiwan, Macau, and China beginning September 1. In addition to that, the emails gave them details on how to withdraw the funds that may have been in their accounts.

Prior to the emails, there were already hints of possible priority changes after Flutter Entertainment took over control of the poker operator. In a recent statement from Flutter, the was talk of switching off some of The Stars Group’s jurisdictions where Flutter Entertainment has previously said it will not operate in. This is not much of a surprise especially considering Flutter Entertainment plans for the United States iGaming market – operating in some of the unregulated jurisdictions or ‘black markets’ would mean trouble for its ambitions for the US market.

PokerStars’ Expanded Entertainment Platform

The Stars Group merger with Flutter Entertainment is certainly a big deal and it will have a vital role to play in PokerStars plans to expands as an entertainment platform. With a strong presence in over 40 regulated markets across the global the operator already has the foundation that will help it reach even greater heights in its expansion plans.

“We’ve got tens of millions of players in our community around the world… so how do we give our audiences this world to join where they can play different games and they can consume content, whatever it might be?”

Martin Nieri, Global Director of Brand.

Diversification will be very important to PokerStars going forward and, thankfully, its customer-base has shown that it is open to new and innovative offerings. Consumer behavior is, however, just a small piece of the puzzle. Now that it is only focusing on regulated markets, the company will be able to move forward with these ambitious plans without having to look over their shoulders.