Over several years, engaging in online poker in the province of Ontario was neither legal nor illegal. Because no clear-cut legalities were in place, people were in a state of uncertainty. However, on April 4, 2022, Ontario Province approved a private market to offer sports betting, real money online casino gaming, and online poker to its citizens.
Like other online poker platforms, PokerStars also geared up to launch in the regulated Ontario market. In an announcement made in April 2022, a partnership between PokerStars and FanDuel, a subsidiary of Flutter, was given out. However, this partnership was based on PokerStar getting approval from the regulatory bodies. To date, Pokerstars is yet to obtain permission.
Sometime in April, a list of operators showing who had already begun the iGaming licensing process by the Ontario regulators came out, and PokerStars was absent. A change with only the names of operators who completed their licensing with the agencies was present the next day. According to the officials of iGO, this change was to avoid confusion over the status of operators in Ontario.
Will PokerStar Still Launch in Ontario?
The exclusion of PokerStar from iGO’s list took many aback. However, PokerStars says they are still sticking to their plan to launch in Ontario. PokerStars Associate Director of Consumer Engagement and Publics Relations, Rebecca McAdam Willet, assures that PokerStar is still working with AGCO and iGO. The idea is to get a new licensed entity and are closer to sharing that offering with their communities in Ontario.
Meanwhile, she assures players that they can go about their routine as their sites remain open and deposits are safe. Players also get the assurance of participating in the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP), running from May to June 1 on the global PokerStars network and other events. This information suggests that Pokerstar might not go live for about two months in Ontario.
As of May 7, 2022, PokerStars is yet to launch its Ontario online poker site but expects to do so soon. Ontario regulators state that they are allowing operators who have begun the licensing process but are yet to execute their iGO operation agreements to carry on with their grey market activities for the time being.
As it stands, PokerStars using its gaming license (multi-jurisdictional) in Malta, can keep providing online poker to its customers in Ontario. So while they are yet to launch the Ontario-only site, they are accepting players from the province. Therefore, by allowing this, a dual ecosystem now exists for online poker in Ontario, though for a short while.
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Who Controls the Market?
The new iGaming market in Ontario will receive supervision from iGO (iGaming Ontario), a division of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). The iGaming market will also receive regulation from the AGCO. This agency regulates gaming, horse racing, cannabis, and alcohol sectors in the province.
Before providing online gaming to customers in Ontario, operators must complete an operating agreement with iGO and register with AGCO. Operators who receive authorization to operate must observe provincial regulations. One of them is forbidding online poker sites catering to players in Ontario from joining with traffic with other jurisdictions.
Essentially, this means that the market will suffer segregation as online poker players will only be able to compete with players in their province. Although operators will not be able to share traffic at this time, regulators are not altogether removing the possibility of an inter-jurisdictional compact. The iGO also seems to be considering this possibility.
Now that you have all the necessary information about PokerStars launch, you can become an instant millionaire if you key yourself into the schedule. Ontario is one of the provinces with a highly regulated gambling market. You cannot run out of games, whether you opt for slots, baccarat, blackjack, or roulette. With PokerStars, there are a lot of promises for new players and veteran poker enthusiasts. Why not hop in on the opportunity that Ontario brings to its teeming real money casino lovers? PokerStars Ontario promises to be a blockbuster for tourists and casino goers. The good thing is that there is something for everyone. It’s time for you to play, enjoy, and win.