Online poker room partypoker is set to quit about a dozen unregulated territories as its parent company, GVC Holdings, is revving up preparations to pull out all of its brands from gray markets.
Poker news outlet PokerIndustryPRO reported Monday that partypoker account holders from a number of countries, including Poland, Norway, and Montenegro, last week received messages from the operator informing them about its imminent exit.
As from today, December 1, players from all affected countries will no longer be able to deposit funds. Play in all of these countries will be suspended from December 17. Existing players will be able to sign in and request withdrawals.
All cashbacks owed to players will be credited to their accounts by December 23. However, all non-cash rewards, including loyalty points and unused tournament tickets will become void on December 17.
Partypoker’s Twitch and Community Manager, Colette Stewart, said on the poker room’s discussion forum on Discord that “by mid-December, we will no longer offer our services across unregulated poker markets following a management business decision” and that going forward, their umbrella organization, GVC, will only focus on operating in “regulated, fully licensed markets.”
Quick Exit Part of Larger Regulated Markets Strategy
Partypoker’s speedy exit from unregulated territories comes on the heels of GVC’s announcement in November that it has decided to withdraw all of its brands from gray and unregulated markets as part of its commitment to operating in 100% regulated markets.
At present, regulated markets account for about 96% of GVC’s group revenue. The company said last month that 99% of its revenue will be coming from regulated or regulating markets by the end of the year, and 100% of its revenue will be coming from regulated markets by the end of 2023.
GVC’s “exclusive focus on regulated markets” is also supposed to help the company expand in the fast-growing US online gambling and sports betting fields. The company’s US joint venture with casino operator MGM Resorts International, ROAR Digital, has entered several states where iGaming and sports betting have become legal in recent years and is eyeing further expansion as more states are joining the mix.
GVC’s controversial operations in Turkey, a market where legal gambling is only provided by a state-run organization, could have prevented the gambling group from winning a license in Nevada last year. Silver State regulators eventually granted a license to GVC but not without some serious grilling over the questionable operations.
GVC offloaded its Turkish subsidiary several years ago, but its presence in that country has never really stopped stirring controversy and regulatory trouble for the gambling giant. In a surprise move, HM Revenue & Customs this summer announced that it was examining “potential corporate offending” by GVC’s former Turkish business.
GVC’s departure from unregulated markets is part of the company’s wider plan to rebrand as Entain plc. The move is said to be reflecting the “fundamental changes” that have taken place both within the company and the wider gambling industry.
Source: PARTYPOKER PREPARES FOR DECEMBER GREY MARKET EXODUS
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