Gambling Laws and Increased Fees: What’s Happening?
PokerStars has edited its end-user terms of service, including new currency fees. Modern, popular poker rooms have opted for funds attached to similar financial transactions, and unsupported currencies are taking a hit. While most charges sit around small amounts, approximately a 2.5 percent charge, supported currencies like U.S dollars, British pounds and euros have remained untouched.
The Head of Corporate Communications for PokerStars, Eric Hollreiser, has made a statement:
“The game is constantly changing and evolving, as is society and technology at large”. Hollreiser then commented upon reduced risks and adoption of future prospects. He said, “We’re committed to keeping poker exciting, fresh and relevant to new players and to loyal grinders”.
PokerStars, alone, has removed themselves from over 30 markets—discontinuing services to areas providing tax-free revenue. Such a change, while small, may reveal the industry’s shift towards new regulations and legislative burdens.
The United Kingdom Gambling Act, approved by Parliament at the end of March, has imposed a requirement for U.K Gambling Commission licences. Such licences promote a 15-percent charge for point-of-consumption revenue expenditures following December 1.
Understandable, the legislation was met by market exits. Several operators, including Carbon Poker, Mansion Online Poker, SBOBet and Winamax removed themselves from the market. Meanwhile, PokerStars’ Michael Jolsem—a representative of the company’s Public Relations team—has addressed concerns for PokerStars. According to Jolsem, the website’s team is listening to complaints, regarding feedback and discussing industry benefits.
“If we can grow poker, everyone will benefit”, he stated. “Even our competitors will benefit, because in a rising tide, all ships rise”. While neither he nor Hollreisier commented upon declining profits, industry exclusion or increased government regulation, such factors are likely responsible for such comments. For now, the industry is shifting, primarily affecting stakeholders and decision makers. In the near future, however, consumer impact is likely.