PokerStars UK players have been contacted by the largest online poker room in the world, and advised that their .com accounts will be migrated to a new .uk account, and access to .fr accounts will soon cease; moving in line with new UK gambling regulations that come into force on Oct 1.
Are you a PokerStars player residing in the UK?
Then listen up, because things are set to change, thanks to the new UK Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act 2014.
The new regulations mean that from Oct 1 any company wanting to do business with the men and women of the UK, have to hold a UK license issued by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
This allows the UKGC to take greater control of its market and start pumping the operators with the newly introduced 15% point of consumption (POC) tax. As PokerStars are based on the Isle of Man—which is not deemed a part of the UK—then they had to apply for a new license.
Over the past few days, players will have received an e-mail from PokerStars confirming that from Oct 1, anybody trying to log in to a Pokerstars.com account, from within the UK, will be given a series of prompts to download a new upgrade that migrates your account to a .uk site.
The download will be over in minutes and very little changes from your perspective. The one change that you will notice, and will be a royal pain in the ass, is the automatic re-buy feature – for cash games and tournaments – will be disabled to come in line with the new UK regulations.
Mobile devices will also need to go through a similar upgrade. IOS users need to download a new app from the App Store, and Android users need to do likewise via the PokerStars Mobile site.
Au Revoir PokerStars.fr
UK-based PokerStars players who hold PokerStars.fr accounts will also receive e-mail from the site advising you that all account balances, play money amounts, real money tickets, FPPs, and any other form of reward (whether monetary or not), will have to be migrated to your UK account.
There will be no more .fr action available for the UK players from Oct 1.
Passing the Tax Onto the Players
So will PokerStars pass the 15% POC tax onto its customers?
According to information gleaned from the site, it seems PokerStars will be making changes to their 2015 Rewards Program, which will see a less attractive offer for UK based players but rake will remain unaffected for the time being.
PokerStars are the first big name to advise their players of the migration process. The UKGC have so far received 161 licensing applications, but there have been some rogues with the likes of Mansion & Winamax deciding to withdraw from the UK market due to the 15% POC tax.
In a special show of thanks, a series of PokerStars UK Freerolls will be available to players every night Oct 1-5 at 20:00 BST with each tournament containing £1K prize money.