My sense is the law will change in the next few years in the United States.
—NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on gambling
19th July 2017  
 
  Can’t take the heat?
 
The Story

PokerStars has withdrawn real-money online gambling services from the Colombian market shortly after local regulator Coljuegos initiated its offensive against blacklisted online gambling domains.

 

“Local licensing requirements” pushed PokerStars to the wall.

Last week, PokerStars started sending out emails to its Colombian customers saying that they would no longer be able to enjoy real-money poker play effective July 17. However, the company said that its free-to-play games were still available in Colombia and that its services in other South American countries remain.

 

PokerStars said that all hope is not yet lost.

In its message to patrons, Stars claimed that it “has been, and will continue to be, in positive and proactive discussions” with Colombian officials. It added that it hopes to resume real-money activity in Colombia “in the future.”

 

But the company did not say everything in its letter to patrons.

PokerStars reportedly took issue with Coljuegos’ unwillingness to allow its online poker licensees to share liquidity with other jurisdictions. Also, the requirement that licensees base their servers in Colombia did not sit well with the online gambling operator.

 

What about the blacklist?

In March, Coljuegos published a list of 325 supposedly unauthorized online gambling domains. Then last week, the local regulator made good of its threat of punishing these blacklisted online gambling domains by blocking the domain of the Curacao-licensed Play2Win online casino.

 

There’s another country following Colombia’s footsteps.

And that is Brazil. In a proposed bill, Brazil might ban local punters from using credit cards or other forms of electronic payments to participate in games of chance on international gambling sites. The bill cites the protectionist policies of Australia, France and the United States, as a justification for its passage.

 

Takeaway

This move by PokerStars is a lost opportunity for Colombia to bolster its image as a forward-thinking country, as it was the first South American jurisdiction to approve national online gambling legislation. Should it continue to enable a restrictive gambling environment, more online gambling operators may follow PokerStars toward the exit.

 
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Congratulations to Dominic Matthews who was appointed as the new Chief Operations Officer of SIS. Matthews was previously with Ladbrokes where he held a number of senior positions, including most recently Commercial Projects Director and Retail Operations Director.

 
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