Ahead of the gaming market launch in Ontario set for April, operators are preparing to launch their operations in the province. According to a recent report, PokerStars, the leading global online poker room, is also paving the way to enter the regulated online market of Canada’s most populous province.
Global Online Poker Room PokerStars Eyes Ontario Market
Canada’s province with the highest population, Ontario, is set to launch its regulated online gambling market on April 4, 2022. To regulate the gaming, horse racing activities, alcohol and cannabis retail stores, the province created the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Additionally, the province established iGaming Ontario (iGO) last year in July. iGO was tasked with conducting and managing iGaming offerings in the province.
With less than two months to the launch, PokerStars just like other operators is planning to enter the regulated online market of the province and launch attractive offering, according to a recent report by Pokerfuse. Previously, Ontario players accessed PokerStars open market. However, now the network would need to re-enter Ontario and provide players access to a separate platform. This marks the first time PokerStars has officially confirmed that it is collaborating with regulatory bodies to launch its services in the province.
“Canada is very close to our hearts. It’s our home ground and where PokerStars was born over 20 years ago,”reads a statement from PokerStars
A spokesperson for PokerStars said that being licensed in Ontario will mark a historic moment for the global online poker leader. Moreover, the spokesperson confirmed that PokerStars is currently collaborating with the AGCO and iGO regarding “processes related to the new provincial regulatory model.” The spokesperson reaffirmed that PokerStars remains committed to having “an attractive offering for our community.” In conclusion, the spokesperson vowed to provide an update on the topic soon.
Operating within a Closed Market Isn’t Uncommon
Launching the regulated online market in the province will help reduce the share of black market operators. Moreover, once the activity is regulated by the government, player protection will increase. The legal activity would also help create a new stream of tax revenue. But at the start, the online poker market will likely be operating separately from other markets. In other words, players may only play with other players within the province and not as a part of a global online poker pool.
This is not an uncommon practice when it comes to online poker. In fact, in the US, MSIGA enables poker players in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware to play together via 888 and WSOP. What is more, PokerStars has similar closed markets operating in Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. On a global scale, the poker network has closed markets in India as well as Italy. Even if the online poker market in the province is closed, as per the planned regulations, there will likely be plenty of high-roller tournaments with big prizes, considering the 15 million people that live in the province.