PokerStars has pulled out of Slovenia’s online gambling market, marking the third year in a row it has pulled out of a European gaming market that was debating new online gambling regulations.
PokerStars left Portugal last year and the Dutch market in 2014.
PokerStars released a message to players in Slovenia:
“We hope that we will be able to return to the market in due course, and will continue to support the implementation of fair and consistent regulation that serves the needs of all stakeholders and includes a strong commitment to consumer protection, particularly of vulnerable people, in Slovenia. There is already a successful framework for such regulation in Europe, and PokerStars is currently licensed in 12 EU countries. We hope to apply for a license in Slovenia when it is possible.”
However, a report in OnlinePokerReport.com outlines how in all three markets, a lengthy process to draft new online licensing and regulations has forced legitimate operators out of those markets, creating a climate for illicit online gambling sites to thrive.
The loss of the Portuguese market was noted by Amaya, Inc.—owner of PokerStars—as a negative factor in Amaya’s third-quarter report, which lowered revenue projections for the year.
Meanwhile, Dutch regulators have been trying to finalize regulations since 2014, and have barred unlicensed operators from advertising there. New Dutch gambling legislation has hit many delays, but the final bill has been presented in the lower house of the Netherlands parliament, where it is expected to pass. It will then go to the country’s Senate.
However, it sets the tax rate for internet and land-based gambling at a common 29 percent of gross gaming revenue, which many online companies have balked at.
Finally, Slovenia began the process of introducing its own online gambling regulation in 2013, and in March 2016 notified its new laws to the EU Commission for approval.