It’s likely no coincidence that PokerStars and other companies are announcing new fees, as the United Kingdom Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act’s provisions kick in this month. The stricter requirements for remote gambling operators’ licensure and the new 15% consumption tax have already forced out many operators from the British market, including Carbon Poker, SBOBet, Mansion Online Poker, and PokerStars French website.
Michael Jolsem, a public relations representative for PokerStars, made no mention of the changing laws in a blog post addressing the upcoming changes, instead focusing on positive messaging.
“If we can grow poker, everyone will benefit. Even our competitors will benefit, because in a rising tide, all ships rise.”
The change in PokerStars terms of service do, however, raise questions about who will be paying for these new UK laws, as they surgically target not British pounds or euros, but various unsupported currencies for a 2.5% charge. If, as seems likely, these fees come as a response to new legislation, it would seem the expense has been passed on to residents of other nations.
These aren’t the only recent changes to hit PokerStars. The operator has also discontinued service to 30 markets that previously provided the company with tax-free revenues, cutting in to bottom lines further. In light of all these changes to the Poker giant’s revenue streams, it’s no wonder that visiting gamblers will see the cost of doing business passed down the line—but one must wonder how the decisions of who gets charged are being made.