One of the biggest online poker sites around, PartyPoker has announced they will withdraw from the Czech online gambling market for the time being. The decision, caused by new iGaming regulations coming into force, comes on the very same day the global market leader PokerStars returns to the country.
As of today, PartyPoker and bwin players from the Czech Republic are greeted by a message warning them they are accessing the site from a jurisdiction where the operator doesn’t offer its services. Czech players are no longer able to create new accounts or make deposits, but they can request withdrawals.
The market exit should be just temporary, which is good news for all online poker players. Party has been working closely with the Czech Ministry of Finance to acquire the necessary license, and the process shouldn’t take too long. Bwin / Party will probably come back to the market shortly.
It is interesting to note that there were speculations in the media that Party could potentially disregard the legal changes and continue to operate in the Czech Republic as is. By doing this, the company could probably continue to offer their services for a while, but they’d also potentially ruin their chances of obtaining a license.
Instead, Party decided to do everything by the books, and they have removed themselves temporarily, and they’ll return once everything’s in order from the legal standpoint.
Triumphant Return of PokerStars
On the very same day PartyPoker announced its withdrawal, PokerStars has informed the players the company is getting ready to launch the .cz site. PokerStars has already procured the necessary license by the Czech Ministry of Finance, allowing them to become the first online poker room accepting players in the newly-regulated environment.
PokerStars was one of the first operators to leave the Czech market after the new set of regulations was announced. The site clearly had plans to beat everyone else to the goal, and they succeeded in becoming the first fully-licensed online poker operator in the country.
Online Gambling – A Huge Industry
New online gambling regulations, which came into effect on January 1, 2017, were proposed and adopted after realizing that Czech players wagered some $6 billion on unregulated sites every year. This is an amount that could significantly boost the country’s economy, so the new set of gaming regulations was adopted last year.
The Czech branch of Transparency International, as well as some other organizations in the country, is firm in their intentions to stand against any violators. These organizations will look to create the safest possible gaming environment, offering full protection for the players.
The move is clearly good for the country’s budget, and it is supposed to be good for the players as well. However, it remains to be seen how many operators will apply for local licenses. The market can only be good for the players if there is enough competition. If there are only a few sites running the show, they can pretty much do whatever they like, as players don’t have too many options available.