The message states that the company has made a number of banking changes “in order to facilitate player withdrawals,” including lowering the minimum amount available for bank wires for players in these markets, as well as enabling withdrawal options via Skrill and NETELLER without a previous deposit by customers in Taiwan.
None of the three markets currently permit legal online real-money poker play, and China in particular has been ratcheting up its fight against ‘cross-border illegal gambling,’ including much tighter scrutiny of online payment processing for gambling operators.
PokerStars’ Asian exit comes just days after its parent company Flutter Entertainment announced tighter control over The Stars Group (TSG) unit, of which PokerStars is a main component. Flutter said there were “a small number of TSG jurisdictions that Flutter had previously determined it would not operate in and in such cases, we have now switched these markets off.”
Flutter also stated that it intended to boost “the quality of TSG’s safer gambling/anti-money laundering procedures.” Coupled with the market withdrawals, Flutter estimated this would cost the company around £65m per year, a price the company appears prepared to pay to ensure no blowback from regulators in other, more important jurisdictions, like the United States.
PokerStars’ exit from unregulated jurisdictions is certainly linked to Flutter’s big US expansion plans. The online poker brand itself is active in several US states where playing poker online for real money is legal, but several other Flutter-owned operations are also expanding quickly across the US, with FanDuel and FOX Bet being some of them.