PokerStars yesterday announced the launch of PokerStars.it, a fully licensed version of the poker site that will enable Italian players to play poker online within the constraints of current Italian law. Italy granted PokerStars the license a few days ago, and PokerStars quickly capitalized upon the decision by releasing its new site to the rapidly growing Italian poker-playing community.
The license allows Italian players to play online poker for real money on PokerStars.it within the bounds of Italian law. PokerStars will hold Italian-only events with buy-ins ranging from €0.50-€100. Players on the site will also have the ability to qualify for major live poker events, like tournaments on the European Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker.
“PokerStars is proud to be entering a flourishing market with this new product. This is a ground-breaking time for the online poker industry, and it’s very exciting that the Italian market is pioneering this move.” said PokerStars Italian Country Manager Fabio Angeli Bufalini. “This is the start of a global template which could potentially be adopted in other markets internationally in the next few years.”
Market research estimates that licensing poker in Italy could bring in 500,000 registered poker accounts and €400 million in the first year of legalization alone.
PokerStars has been represented by Italian players for some time, as two prominent, young members of Team PokerStars Pro are from the country: Dario Minieri and Luca Pagano. Minieri won a World Series of Poker bracelet this year and is famous for having “bought” a car (a Porsche Cayman) using Frequent Player Points on PokerStars, and Pagano has made three final tables at European Poker Tour events, including that of the EPT Grand Final this April, a sixth-place finish that netted him more than $500,000.