Gambling

partypoker to Leave Norway, Poland Markets in December

partypoker has told customers in over a dozen countries, including Norway, Poland, and Montenegro, that it is exiting their jurisdictions so that it can operate only in regulated markets. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Sticking with “fully licensed” markets

Online poker room partypoker has told customers in over a dozen countries that beginning on Tuesday, December 1, they will no longer be permitted to deposit funds. The decision stems from parent company GVC Holdings’ decision to only be in markets where online gambling is formally legal and regulated. To that end, players in affected countries will be barred from partypoker starting December 17.

Customers will still be able to login to their accounts and initiate withdrawals, but the poker tables will be off limits. Any cashback that players have accrued will be credited to their accounts by December 23. Non-cash rewards like loyalty points or tournament tickets, however, will be forfeited.

willingly operate in regulated, fully licensed markets”

“Going forward, GVC, our umbrella brand, willingly operate in regulated, fully licensed markets [only],” said partypoker’s community manager Colette Stewart on the room’s Discord forum. “By mid-December, we will no longer offer our services across unregulated poker markets following a management business decision.”

So far, partypoker customers in Poland, Montenegro, and Norway have confirmed on poker message boards that they received an e-mail from the site.

Coordinated with rebranding

GVC Holdings made the announcement that it will exit gray markets earlier in November in conjunction with the reveal of an upcoming name change to Entain. It said that jurisdictions in which online gambling is explicitly legal will be its “exclusive focus.” GVC’s goal is for 100% of its revenues to come from regulated markets. Currently, that number sits at 96%, but the company plans to exit markets with “no viable path” to regulation.

poker sites are only up and running in four states

On the flip side, one market in which GVC continues to expand is the United States. In the US, gambling regulation is on a state-by-state basis, so there are really 50 markets. Though the first online poker room launched in the States in 2013, internet poker sites are only up and running in four states.

Where gambling is expanding more rapidly in the United States is in the sports betting arena. In 2018, GVC created Roar Digital, known best by its operating name, BetMGM, in a joint venture with MGM Resorts International. BetMGM operates MGM’s sportsbooks, while also serving as the primary brand for the company’s online poker and online casino sites. GVC estimates that it has an 18% market share in states in which BetMGM operates.

Customers will miss MILLIONS Online

The exit from gray market countries means that poker players in those markets will be unable to participate in the upcoming partypoker MILLIONS Online. Last week, partypoker announced that the fourth iteration of the massive event will take place in February, with the first starting flight of the $5,300 buy-in Main Event running on Valentine’s Day, February 14.

The second starting flight will be a week later, while Day 2, Day 3, and the final table will all be on consecutive days after that.

Partypoker is giving players a chance to win their way into the Main Event for just a penny. The one-cent satellites – or what the poker room calls “centrolls” – run every day and award seats into a $5.50 Phase 1 satellite. Phase 1 tourneys lead into the $55 Phase 2 satellites, which funnel into the weekly final. Phase 2 events last 22 levels; players who make it through begin the weekly final with the chip stack they had at the end of Phase 2. The weekly final, which cannot be bought into directly, awards seats in the Main Event.

Until the recent $5,300 WSOP Online Main Event, partypoker MILLIONS boasted the two largest prize pools in online poker history. The 2018 MILLIONS Online generated a $21,835,000 pool from 4,367 entries, while the 2019 edition, priced at $10,300, built a $21,090,000 prize pool from 2,109 entries.
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