$104 Million WCOOP and Regulatory Issues Mark Bittersweet Month for PokerStars

September 25th, 2019 | by Jason Reynolds

It’s been a case of ups and downs at PokerStars HQ this week thanks to MTT highs and regulatory lows.

PokerStars WCOOP

PokerStars has broken the $100 million barrier with its latest World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP). (Image: PokerStars)

As this year’s World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) come to a close, PokerStars is celebrating another victory.

After increasing the festival’s guaranteed prizepool by $10 million, the tournament team has broken the magical $100 million barrier.

WCOOP 2019 Sets New Standards

When the virtual registration desks were closed and the main event was down to its final few, WCOOP 2019 entered the record books. As well as becoming the richest WCOOP ever, it now stands as the second-largest online MTT series in history.

By generating a prizepool just short of $105 million, WCOOP has set a target that few, if any, can match. Indeed, while other online poker operators are on the ascent, PokerStars remains the industry’s biggest brand.

Even with Asia’s IDNPoker network surpassing PokerStars in the traffic stakes of late, the latter remains the global leader.

However, with an international reach comes international-sized responsibilities.

Despite being licensed in multiple countries, PokerStars has come unstuck in the Netherlands. Following an investigation by Dutch gaming regulator KSA, PokerStars has been fined €400,000/$439,000.

Although the law will change in 2021, the current dynamic gives Holland Casino sole permission to offer poker in the region. However, according to KSA, PokerStars targeted Dutch players via its dot.eu website.

PokerStars Falters but Remains On Top

As well as a native payment processor in the form of iDeal, the site was available in Dutch and references were made to local gambling addiction charities.

For targeting Dutch players, PokerStars was found to be in breach of local gaming laws. Although the fine won’t break the bank, it’s a blemish on what’s been an otherwise clean regulatory record in recent years.

But even with the KSA laying down the law, PokerStars is still riding high after another successful WCOOP. What’s more, online poker as a whole will be reveling in the latest surge of activity at one of the industry’s largest sites.

Just as high tides raise all ships, success for one poker operator often translates into success for others.

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) proved that this summer. After breaking more records, tournament fever spread throughout the community.

Prompting a surge in numbers at EPT Barcelona and beyond, the WSOP-effect is now making its mark online. Between that and PokerStars’ enduring allure, the online poker industry is closing out 2019 in a better place than it started.


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