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PokerStars: What's the difference between Serbia and Japan?

Author: Vargoso Published: 17.09.20

PokerStars continues dividing the poker markets into those dispensable, and those that, despite all their "greyness," the site is in no hurry to leave. In September 2020, this approach was once again demonstrated with Serbia and Japan. Pokerstars no longer accepts players from the first country but has launched satellites for the Japan Open Poker Tour series.

PokerStars: What's the difference between Serbia and Japan?

PokerStars left Serbia

As of September 10, 2020, PokerStars officially stopped operating in Serbia. As expected, players from this country have previously received goodbye letters in which they were notified of the upcoming changes and assured of the safety of the funds.

PokerStars left Serbia

It is not clear what this internal check is. Local players are confused because the old gambling law was derogated a year ago, and the new one is not yet ruling. But that's probably not the point.

PokerStars holds satellites for Japanese people

Japan Open Poker Tour 2020

The poker market in Japan has always been in limbo in terms of legalization. Live events seem to be taking place, online is not regulated, and hosting cash games is illegal.

Despite this, PokerStars has long been the main partner of the most extensive local poker series, the Japan Open Poker Tour, which has been running since 2011.

In 2020 the first stop was canceled due to the pandemic, but the second will take place from October 23 to 25 in Tokyo. Online satellites for the Main Event with USD buy-ins will start from September 18 at PokerStars.jp. It worth mentioning that Japanese players take part in the global pool.

How PokerStars work on gray markets?

Fluter Entertainment absorbed The Stars Group a few months ago, and in the latest report of results, it stated its policy about gray markets: PokerStars will start leaving such countries in the following months.

Nevertheless, PokerStars chooses one of two ways, depending on the size and importance of a particular poker market:

  1. If the country is small and located in Europe, it's easier to stop accepting its players, as it was with Cyprus and Serbia. The same logic didn't apply for Slovakia as PokerStars simply tried to sneak in without a license;
  2. If the country is large and online poker can represent a substantial income, it finds turnarounds to keep operating. This is what happened with China, Japan, and Russia.

In the following months, PokerStars will move away from the "small" gray markets and will use all its creativity in countries with excellent prospects. Hence, the level of legality doesn't seem to be a crucial matter.

By the way, GGNetwork operates in all the above countries.

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