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PokerStars Must Exit The Netherlands By November 1

Move Comes As The Government Begins Enforcing A Law Passed Earlier This Year To Regulate The Online Gambling Market


One of the world’s largest online poker rooms is being forced out of the Dutch market.

As the Netherlands government begins to implement a law passed last April, PokerStars is being temporarily banned from the market beginning Nov. 1.

Earlier this year, Dutch lawmakers passed the Remote Gambling Act to end the unregulated actions of the country’s online gambling market and begin licensing all of the operators serving its citizens.

As a result, regulators are forcing all operators who stayed and operated within the country to stop doing business by the start of November. PokerStars is by far the largest operation that is forced to undergo what is being called a “cooling-off period.” Smaller online poker rooms like Unibet and Bwin will also be forced to leave.

While there is no hard date for when these companies will be allowed to return, it’s being reported that it will likely be either late 2022 or early 2023.

If the companies decide to disobey the orders, regulators will levy fines between €150,000 and €600,000. If a company decides to stay and generates more than €15 million in annual revenue, the fine will instead be 4% of the gross revenue.

Companies that have not been serving the Dutch market over the last several years, such as GGPoker and partypoker, will be able to obtain one of the country’s 35 online gambling licenses right away. Regulators will begin handing out those licenses at the start of October. GGPoker left the Dutch market two years ago.

After Black Friday, PokerStars’ business model shifted to operate within regulated markets as much as possible. It left the U.S. market entirely before returning to New Jersey in 2015, Pennsylvania in 2019 and Michigan earlier this year to operate in intrastate player pools.

In Europe, it began segregating player pools to comply with regulators. It forced poker players in Portugal and France to play in player pools comprised only of fellow nationals, while continuing to operate a client that serviced the rest of the world.

It seems unlikely that PokerStars would defy the government’s orders. Not only based on their track record, but because it just recently settled a nine-figure bill in the U.S. Just last week, PokerStars settled a lawsuit with Kentucky for $300 million after the state sued the now Flutter-owned gambling company for operating illegally between 2006-2010.