PokerStars and Full Tilt Withdraw from Gray Markets: Malaysia, Turkey and More Affected

PokerStars and Full Tilt have withdrawn their business from some countries, effective immediately, with an apparent focus on Asian and Islamic countries.

“Our management team and advisors regularly review our operations market-by-market to assess commercial opportunities and business risks for our brands,” reads a statement issued to pokerfuse Tuesday.

“Following a recent review we have decided to stop offering real money games to players who are physically located in, or have a registered address in, a limited number of countries.”

While the statement did not specify which markets were withdrawn, based on player reports, the countries affected include Malaysia, Turkey, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Iran.

Players from both PokerStars and Full Tilt reportedly received messages in their client and via customer support emails stating that real money gaming was no longer available in their area. Account balances are safe and can be withdrawn.

“Affected players can log into the relevant software and cash out their remaining balance using the ordinary withdrawal methods available to them, and they are welcome to do this at their convenience,” pokerfuse was informed.

According to at least one report, FPPs can be cashed in and milestones credits partially earned will be credited.

It is unclear what prompted the market withdrawals. PokerStars has an pending application for a temporary continuation license for a remote gambling license in the UK, and one of the stipulations was that poker rooms must justify continued operation in countries of a legal gray area. The UK licensing act was set to come into effect tomorrow, although it has since been delayed a month.

Parent company Amaya is also pursuing a license in the New Jersey online gaming market, with the plan of launching the PokerStars and Full Tilt brands in partnership with Resorts casino. A launch in the coming weeks is expected.

Perhaps most notable is what countries PokerStars continues to serve—there have been no reports that Canadian players are affected with today’s withdrawals. PokerStars has previously committed to remaining in the Canadian market—although it also stated it planned to stay in “all current markets.”

Ladbrokes recently announced that it would be halting operations in Canada. Though the company cited “a review of Canadian igaming regulations” as the reason when giving its customers less than a one week notice, the date coincided with the planned implementation of the new UK licensing act.

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